One of the most commemorated moments in history is the “I Have a Dream” speech, given by Dr. Martin Luther King on August 28, 1963. In it, Dr. King gave us a vision of the future and was prophetic in its substance and delivery. Then, on April 3, 1968, the day before he was assassinated, Dr. King spoke of going to the mountaintop. When you hear those words, “I’ve been to the mountaintop,” you believe that Martin did get a vision of what it would look like when all people were free. There’s an amazing comfort in believing that someone has special knowledge about our future state. Knowledge that, around the next bend there is freedom for all. Sadly, he left us the next day, punctuating this moment and these words even more. We speculate and believe he had to have known he was leaving. It was imperative for him to tell us that we would get there without him, so we didn’t lose hope when he left us.
I am suggesting that we have not lost hope.
Perhaps if we had, we would not acknowledge his life and legacy as a National holiday, but we do. What’s so great about his legacy is that he has given us everything we need to carry on:
He gave us the amazing vision of the future through his “I Have a Dream” speech.
He gave us instruction on how to acquire the dream through his Letter from a Birmingham Jail.
He told us how to keep going through his last sermon, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop”.
Dr. King served all of us. He suffered for all of us. He made it clear in his sermons and speeches that we are stronger together and we have to consider the greater good versus our own needs. He did that every day, leading the struggle. Martin Luther King was special.
As I reflect on the power and reach of his legacy, I turn to thoughts of my own. I also consider what you might be thinking about your legacy. To be clear, you don’t have to be a prolific writer or orator to leave a legacy. You don’t have to lead a movement for a nation of people. You just have to serve others. Who are you serving? Manifest your legacy through your service. It’s that simple, and yet that profound. Just serve where and how you can, and your legacy will be intact.
PS: Our theme song is “Happy Birthday” by Stevie Wonder.