Today marks the celebration of an iconic figure in the United States of American. Martin Luther King, Jr. As a doctor, a minister, a family man, and a friend, King used his passion for change to not only revolutionize a culture, but propagate the message of unity when division was running rampant. His “I Have a Dream” Speech is forever echoed in the annals of history, and has a lasting shelf life.
King begins his speech with a realization that the country is defaulting on its promise.
“It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked insufficient funds.”
However, as he progressed in his speech, King did not believe that the African-American should use this as a reason to cause strife and continue to do what is being scoffed at. In the midst of this, it is the duty of the black man and woman to stand up at any time that he or she is not experiencing the right to equality.
“In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”
He implored blacks to “not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence,” but “rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.” Instead of affirming segregation with equality, followed by more segregation, King made it evident that the mission of justice is the realization to both the black person and the white person that our destinies are attached to each other, not separated by skin color or pedigree.
One of the most powerful lines that he told his fellow black community is, “Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.”
The Bible instructs us that we should not be weary in doing good, because we will reap the benefit if we do not fault. As many have experienced, the benefit comes at the most opportune time. Whether it is a financial breakthrough at a pivotal moment, that call from the job you applied to months ago, or that excellent report card you receive from you child, there is always a reward when one reflects the light of the Lord.
As King explains, there will be persecution that arises with a lifestyle of well-doing and letting one’s light shine before men. However, when one does not give up on his or her dreams, it will come and be better than expected.
As you celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, understand that your investment in this day gives life to the hope that “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” is a reachable goal, and King’s words of “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together” will not be an end goal, but a way of life in American society.