I was eight years old when Martin Luther King Jr. died. I remember being off school the day of his funeral. I knew he was an important figure and a well known man. I remember there was a lot of controversy and fear around him, too. As I grew older I had a greater appreciation for his role building awareness of the Civil Rights movement.
Recently I spent a lot of time reading and researching Martin Luther King Jr. for my upcoming book: Just Lead: Embracing the 5 Universal Attributes of Great Leaders. We hear his name, we associate it with the Civil Rights Movement yet I wanted to know more. It took 100 years for changes to made, I wanted to know exactly how he did it.
Martin Luther King Jr. branded the soul of the movement and spoke to our moral conscious. He helped the world think of the civil rights issue not as a “black” problem but as a problem for mankind. He had an incredible capacity for forgiveness and empathy. His speeches always talked about getting along and living like brothers and sisters no matter what race, religion, or belief system.
He was a master story teller. His sound bites are etched in our memory: I have a dream, Free at last, I have been to the mountain top, We shall overcome. He painted a picture of hope and what life would look when we “got to the promised land.” People remembered what he said – and they pictured it in their mind.
He was jailed over 20 times, stabbed in chest, his house bombed, and he was a continuous target of violence but he never backed down from his non-violent approach. At one time he owned a gun but soon got rid of it. He believed owning a gun was inappropriate for a crusader of non-violence.
We celebrate today because we cannot forget what he did to bring awareness to the injustices happening in our country
We celebrate today because Martin Luther King Jr. still reminds us we are all part of the American Dream.
We celebrate today to honor a man who courageously fought for humanity.
Honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by bringing out your best today. Forgive each other, love each other and keep his hope alive.
Enjoy watching his famous I have a Dream speech.
What will you do today to honor Martin Luther King Jr.?