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Analyzing Body Language

Speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King and Alicia Garza share the same message. Each speaker’s speech revolves around the rights of African Americans, their deprivation, discrimination, and structural and national racism. Dr. King speaks slowly, more figuratively, mentioning various states where the problem is serious – Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama. Alicia Garza is already building longer sentences, saturated with specific facts, surnames, cases, and cities. The speeches introduce some historical insight into the origins of the Black Lives Matter movement. However, a standard message translates into common goals aimed at protection and human relations for everyone, regardless of their skin color, social status, and nationality.

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Dr. King’s charisma captured the entire audience’s attention and resonated with the hearts of the empathic. His passion is infectious, and deep intonations and a drawn-out pace emphasize his speech’s strength and fundamental nature. Dr. King slightly accompanies his speech with gestures, but they echo the underlying meaning in words. He raises his head theatrically when he speaks of a dream. He stretches out his right hand, speaking of equality as if pulling it for a handshake. His hand trembles when his speech reaches the peak of passion, and his intonation rises (Rare Facts, 2017). Finally, at the end of the sentences, his hand gathers into a fist and demonstrates the human strength that people of color have been forced to hide throughout the country’s long history.

Alicia Garza also uses repetitive phrases, the same sentence structure, and enumeration. Her hands are folded together and only occasionally echo intonations, the passion of which is much less than that of Dr. King. Alicia Garza speaks more concrete facts, highlighting the negative attitude of the state towards colored workers, who are in the shadow of the economy even now. Emotional intensity occurs only at the end of her speech when she repeats the final phrase about the future victory three times (Center for Constitutional Rights, 2015). If in the case of Dr. King’s intonation grew as slowly as the original tempo of his speech, then Alicia Garza kept high tension throughout the entire performance, from which the last exclamation sounded as swiftly as it had ended.

Alicia Garza’s gaze more often left the audience in the speech sheet. In a small room, this is a more noticeable detail that affects the audience’s attention. Dr. King definitely has a better place to perform. An iconic place for all Americans – the Lincoln Memorial – was filled with people in the open air who applauded and shouted approval much more often than the audience in the small hall of Alicia Garza’s performance. On the other hand, the location of Alicia Garza is better suited for a more thoughtful understanding of the speaker.

Consequently, Dr. King’s speech, filled with images, is fully explained by the symbolism of the location. At the same time, Alicia Garza’s lecture, also full of appeals and passionate statements, does not meet the proper reaction from the public. She tries to go in two ways. On the one hand, Alicia Garza gives her lecture on the effect of scientific and academic character, listing a considerable number of facts, cases, and historical retrospectives. On the other hand, sentences are built in the same style, and there is a tendency to use repetitions of the same type of phrases and calls with slogans. Dr. King’s speech is met with greater understanding, strong approval, and massive applause in the latter style.

References

Center for Constitutional Rights. (2015). RadTalks: Alicia Garza. [Video]. YouTube.

Rare Facts. (2017). I have a dream speech by Martin Luther King Jr. [Video]. YouTube.

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