The first point is to notice the use of the title “Rev.” which is often lost in place of the title “Dr.” The two are not technically synonymous. One provides an academic or intellectual authenticity, while the other suggests a God ordained calling or vocation. In his activism, his leading people, organizing, marching, and so much more, I suggest it was the “reverend” side of him that allowed him to be calm in the midst of the storms. It was the reverend side of him that spoke and shook the hearts of many. An academic with knowledge gives speeches and informs people, but an academic with God’s hand on their life speaks and mountains move, hate is dispelled, and things occur that people never thought possible. So we cannot forget the “Rev.”
Most people hold Rev. Dr. King in a bubble of “I Have A Dream.” Again, there is much more to him than that. There is his thought-provoking letter from the Birmingham Jail, or his polarizing thoughts on the Vietnam War that created a level of friction at the time, or his speech commemorating Dr. WEB Dubois. Rev. Dr. King is so much more than just one speech on one day. He was bigger than the bus boycotts and marches in Selma. If you only take what is shown on television, tweeted on twitter, or taught in the classroom, then a large part of who Rev. Dr. King was will be lost, among the commercialization of his dream.
So as not to sound angry or upset (which I am not ha), I want us to really consider the entire man. Many people did not even get this day off from work. USA Today suggests that 64% of people did not get today off in the private sector.
My brothers and sisters…there is more to his story than just what we see around us. Take a moment to dig deeper. Take a moment to explore more of who Rev. Dr. King was and still is to us today.
Then take his legacy, his work, his determination and do something about it, not just on his national holiday, but throughout the year. Closing thoughts from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr:
“Let us be dissatisfied until rat-infested, vermin-filled slums will be a thing of a dark past and every family will have a decent, sanitary house in which to live. Let us be dissatisfied until the empty stomachs of Mississippi are filled and the idle industries of Appalachia are revitalized. Let us be dissatisfied until brotherhood is no longer a meaningless word at the end of a prayer but the first order of business on every legislative agenda. Let us be dissatisfied until our brother of the Third World- Asia, Africa, and Latin America-will no longer be the victim of imperialist exploitation, but will be lift- ed from the long night of poverty, illiteracy, and dis- ease. Let us be dissatisfied until this pending cosmic elegy will be transformed into a creative psalm of peace and “justice will roll down like waters from a mighty stream.” – New York City, February 23, 1968. The occasion was the International Cultural Evening sponsored by FREEDOMWAYS Magazine on the 100th birthday of Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois and launching an “International Year” (1968) honoring his life and works. This is the last major speech of Dr. King before his assassination.