This Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute is extremely special to me.
On this special holiday. I encourage all to join me in remembering the life and times of this great American: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a true American hero to every race, color, creed, gender, and generation. Why? He proved the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution are divinely inspired living documents that will make and keep America the greatest country on earth!
As a motivational speaker, keynote speaker, and author, I always dreamed of meeting my vicarious mentor Dr. King.
Can you imagine?
My Personal Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute
The closest I got to meeting Dr. King was sitting behind his beloved wife, Coretta Scott King at a Barbra Streisand concert in Vegas. She was accompanied by Quincy Jones, LL Cool J, and her son. During our brief conversation before the show began, I asked her if I could interview her in Atlanta, and she agreed.
The attached photo is blurry (analog camera) taken in the restaurant after dinner. It is one of my most prized possessions and fondest memories showcased on my Wall of Fame! What an extraordinary and powerful brave woman who relentlessly and often frightfully supported her husband! Truly Mrs. King is as much a National superhero as Dr. King is. I love, admire, and honor her beautiful soul.
To be honest, I had not dug very deep into the messages of Dr. King or understood the massive struggles in the Civil Rights Movement until I interviewed Mrs. King.
Shortly after that, I was invited to speak at Compton and Inglewood High Schools in Los Angeles for their Martin Luther King Jr Assembly programs.
Focusing On Cultural Commonality Instead of Cultural Diversity
The school faculties and students knew that I couldn’t fathom what they experienced as minorities, so I decided to do what Dr. King would do. Instead of talking about ‘Cultural Diversity’ and focusing on what makes us different, I spoke about ‘Cultural Commonality’ and focused on what makes us the same.
That the same God who made Dr. King and you made me too!
As a strong, brave, and ordained Baptist Minister, Dr. King led a nationwide, nonviolent, transformational movement that demonstrated passionate purpose is stronger than power, the mind is stronger than muscles, the heart is stronger than handcuffs, and character is stronger than skin color.
For me, Dr. King’s most powerful sermon was his spiritual example showing us that it does us no good to get on our knees to pray if we don’t stand on our feet and do our part to help God answer our prayer!
For me, Dr. King refused to separate church and state, knowing that racial equality and social justice were guaranteed, God-given inalienable rights promised to every human being!
In my executive coaching career, I focus on teaching that change is possible in every way, shape, and form.
I love how Dr. King mixed scripture with psychology. His mesmerizing rhythmic oratory to teach faith without works is not faith at all – and that it’s not enough to say I will do my best. We must succeed in doing what is necessary!
I knew that Dr. King was heavily influenced by Mahatma Gandhi and the activist Bayard Rustin and had entered the national spotlight as a young, inspirational proponent of organized, nonviolent resistance.
For me, Dr. King’s most remarkable quality was that he didn’t just practice what he preached – he preached only what he practiced as he led from the front, even though he had become a target for white supremacists, who firebombed his family home.
Courageously he stood up to injustice and powerfully reminded America that the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution teach, defend and guarantee with clarity the significance of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and the Civil Liberties of Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion to worship who, what and where we may, Freedom of the press, freedom to peacefully protest without vandalism and violence, and our God-given right to go against the status quo to voice our concerns and truths without being edited, censored or ‘canceled!’
The best way we can honor Dr. King is to perpetuate his legacy by first re-reading his most famous speech delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963: ‘I Have A Dream!’
As we post on social media or take to the streets to wave our specific banners of hope for a better America, may we monitor and judge each other and the demonstrators based on Dr. King’s timeless words:
“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. Intelligence plus character–that is the goal of true education.”
Remembering Dr. King’s Most Powerful Quotes
On this holiday commemorating the servant leadership life of a great man, may we keep his legacy alive by remembering and living by 12 of Dr. King’s most powerful humanity-feeling, society-healing, and forgiveness-revealing quotes:
- “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
- “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.
- “Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude. We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”
- “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’”
- “If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run then walk. If you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
- “Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.”
- “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
- “The time is always right to do what is right.”
- “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
- “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”
- “The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.”
- “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
Do you want to explore more about how to be less judgmental of others?
I’ve shared more in my book, The Art of Significance.
Would you like to take your leadership to the next level? Contact me, and we’ll start on the journey together, whether it’s leadership training or executive coaching. I will meet you where you are, and we’ll walk together.