Today we observe the national holiday that honors the life and achievements of Martin Luther King, Jr. As you know, King was the most visible spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement. There is much we can learn from his leadership and his impact, yet I’d like to focus on one particular aspect of his legacy.
His world-famous inspirational “I have a dream” speech was delivered on August 28, 1963.
What you may not have known, though, is that King’s advisors warned him not to use the phrase “I have a dream” in his speech because it was “trite and cliché.” He must have intended to take that advice, because the speech he planned to deliver that day did not include a reference to his dreams.
Reportedly, as he was delivering his speech, a friend hollered out encouraging words, saying “tell them about your dream, Martin!” I imagine him pausing, taking a deep breath, and feeling so strongly convicted about his dream, and going for it. So he did. He deviated. He went off course, ignoring the well-meaning advice of others. He shared his dream. Without those words, would his speech have had as much of a lasting impact? Would his speech have stirred a nation? That speech was ranked the top American speech of the 20th century in a 1999 poll of scholars of public address.
Without his passion, without his dream, what would have happened? Or, rather what wouldn’t have happened? Think about this in your own life. Without your passion, without your dreams, what will happen? What will the world be missing if you don’t pursue your passion? I’d love to help you pursue your dreams, one step at a time. Start by joining me for my Level UP afternoon experience on February 20th!
I have a dream that my four 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.” Martin Luther King Jr.
Sadly, Martin Luther King Jr.’s personal commitment to freedom, equality and nonviolent activism ended when he was assassinated in 1968. We are grateful his legacy lives on as we celebrate his impact through the national holiday in his honor.