Black History Month activities - Martin Luther King Jr "I Have a Dream"
"Five score ...a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation."
In the first quote, MLK references Abraham Lincoln, the writer of the Emancipation Proclamation. MLK is metaphorically, and literally, standing in Lincoln's shadow as he is saying this speech at the Lincoln Memorial.
"America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. "
MLK uses a metaphor about a bad check. He is trying to say that like a check, the black people of American were promised payment. However, the check is not good because they have never received their 'payment': justice.
"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'"
MLK uses the opening line of the Declaration of Independence to point out the inequality, segregation, and poor standards that blacks are held to, despite being labeled as "equal" by the Founding Fathers.