Martin Luther King, like John F. Kennedy, had been a powerful orator - in his day. However, styles of rhetoric change. So, we wonder if King's lofty phrases and images would resonate with current audiences?
The answer is that they might, in certain circles. Those of us who bear witness to evangelical services hear King's type of public speaking. After all, King developed his tactics from preaching in the southern tradition of churches. We can hear echoes of that in the speeches of Early Bill Clinton. Also from the South, Clinton relied on the techniques of Baptist ministers.
Where King's rhetoric wouldn't play is among those following the school of conversational plain-speaking. Influenced by the tone and content of social media, those believe in unvarnished rhetoric. It's the tone, language, organization (or lack of it), and content of daily professional conversation.
For historical purposes, we will always pay homage to King's body of speeches. It serves as evidence of what encouraged ordinary people to be heroically brave in opposing the status quo. They shared in a dream that they could stand equal to white people.