Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King

January 15th, 2013 | Simcha Weinstein | Comments Off on Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King

Today is Martin Luther King’s birthday. If he were still alive he’d be celebrating 84 years. Below is his “I Have A Dream Speech” in its entirety. Please take 17 minutes out of your day today and watch this amazing speech. Aside from the speech itself, here are a few remarkable aspects about that day:

– The speech was on August 28, 1963 before the now famous Civil Rights legislation was passed and enacted in 1964.

– Not once does Reverend King look down at any notes, and he had no teleprompter available during the speech, and yet, those words were spoken without even a pause.

– There were over 250,000 people who attended the speech that day. Most came from southern states – Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana – making a 2-day trip in cars without air-conditioning during the hottest month of the year.

– Keep in mind that there was no Facebook, Twitter, or online communication of any sort to promote this event. It was mostly by word of mouth that people knew of the event.

– Many who attended were just barely getting by financially and did not get paid while they took time off from their jobs to attend.

– Dr. King’s notes from the speech showed no reference to the most famous part of the speech – the I Have A Dream segment. According to those closest to Dr. King, that portion was spontaneously delivered and inspired by his wife Coretta, who right before he went to the podium encouraged him to personalize his talk.

Let today, on Dr. King’s birthday, be a day that we are reminded of what’s most important. At some point today, what’s most important may seem like taking care of a spill on aisle three, or making sure that the truck is quickly unloaded, or a myriad of other tasks that will lie in front of us. I would argue that non of these activities (and I mean no disrespect to what any of us do) are as important or as meaningful as watching this video. Let the celebration of this remarkable man remind us that what’s most important at any moment is how we treat and care for each other, respecting the dignity within each of us irrespective of our race, gender, religion, or personal philosophy. We are indeed brothers and sisters. Today is a good day to be mindful of this.