As children, we are often taught about people who helped changed the world. People like: George Washington, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. They were revolutionary just by challenging the immoral social norms of their time. And even though they were all met with opposition, they weren’t defeated by adversity!
Jim Crow laws were a terrible American injustice; whose backlash led to the civil rights movement in which Dr. King was crowned its champion! He grew up in a period of segregation and injustice, but made it his mission to bring hope and joy to millions of African Americans whose life and liberties were often threatened on a daily basis. Dr. King’s use of inspirational speech was his greatest weapon for fighting hopelessness. He understood that people desperately needed to hear his message of change. Day after day, he tirelessly devoted his life to uplifting oppressed spirits, and reminded everyone that we are all the same. Dr. King said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” These were the exact words that millions of Americans needed to hear to reassure them that a change was going to come.
It is important to look back and remember heroes like Dr. King, who risked their life by demanding equality for all. These people were beaten, hosed, and thrown in jail, but they were not criminals. They were everyday people looking to change the world so that they could provide a better future for their children. And even though the Jim Crow period is long gone, we must look at leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. to inspire us in our everyday life, to challenge injustice, and to work to protect our freedoms. Or as Dr. King once said, “the quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.”
So today, don’t solely define Martin Luther King Jr. day by his good works and dreams, create your own brand of inspiration. Know what you stand for, rather than against, so you, too, can shout how things could be better!
Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!