The message Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is best known for is his “I Have a Dream” speech, which he delivered in front of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. At the time, it was the largest gathering of protesters in Washington’s history. One profound line in this speech: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
My life has been greatly impacted by the life of Dr. King and his dream. Not just because he had a dream. Perhaps all of us have a dream or dreams. To have a dream is one thing. But to commit yourself to realizing that dream is quite another. And Dr. King did the latter. He worked relentlessly toward realizing his dream, in spite of the formidable odds against him.
Consider the time in history that Martin Luther King, Jr. articulated his dream. Then, blacks in the South lived under a system of segregation known as the Jim Crow laws. They resulted in racial segregation in all public facilities, supposedly with “separate but equal” status for blacks. These laws effected economic, educational and social disadvantages. They served as a daily reminder that African Americans were not regarded as being equal to whites.
Attempts by blacks and whites who joined him in the marches to protest the injustices of their day were met with fierce opposition. Protesters were subjected to jail time, dogs, high pressure water hoses, police brutality, house burnings, even murder. King received death threats throughout the time of his civil rights work.
But he refused to be deterred. He knew he had a message America needed to hear. He was blessed with the exceptional ability to effectively deliver that message. Moreover, God had given him the unshakeable courage to lead the fight against the social injustices of his day.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has left a positive mark on America’s history that cannot be erased. On the third Monday of each January, we pay homage to his life and his works through a national holiday. That alone speaks for itself. Upon no other individuals besides George Washington and Christopher Columbus have we bestowed similar honor. We all should follow Dr. King’s example, putting feet to our dream, in spite of the challenges we may face.
Copyright© 2015 by Frank King. All rights reserved.