For the past few weeks, I've done a motivational piece on Monday mornings, and today I want to do a dedicated piece on a man who motivated many, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
A Baptist minister, a civil rights activist and named Time Magazine's Man of the Year in 1963, Dr. King taught people to fight for what is in their hearts. He was arrested, assaulted and belittled, yet he continued his fight to gain equality for all.
Incorporating verbiage from the U.S. Constitution, passages from the Bible, and pieces from the Gettysburg Address, Dr. King delivered his "I have a Dream" speech over 5 decades ago, to 250, 000 listeners on the Mall here in Washington, DC. Using words like dream, hope, faith and change, Mr. King spoke passionately and without hesitation delivering rhetoric that was a defining moment in the Civil Right Movement. A visionary in his day, and a man who always looked to the future, we celebrate him today, the observance day for what would have been Dr. King's 82 birthday.
Here, in Washington, DC, a 30-foot-8 inch statue is in the works, housed among the Cherry Blossoms near the Tidal Basin titled "Stone of Hope." Made from several pieces of granite and put together like large blocks, the pieces made their way from China, on a boat through the port in Baltimore. Surprisingly, the artist is neither black nor American, but was carefully selected from over 900 applicants, and seen as the best man for the job. Quite appropriate, given Dr. King's mission of equality for all.
The sculpture is based on a photo of Dr. King that was taken in 1966, arms crossed, dressed in a suit and standing in his office, with a photo of Mohandas Gandhi displayed in the background. The team initiaited the project from a reversed negative photo, showing a pen in Dr. King's left hand, when he was right handed. While too far along on the project to start over, the pen was turned into a scroll. Through the snow and cold months, the team forges ahead to work towards the unveiling of the statue on August 28, 2011 - the 48th anniversary of "I Have a Dream" speech.
While many offices are closed, and it is a Federal Holiday, it's important to reflect on the importance of today. Dr. King saw inequality, and through jail, assaults, verbal attacks and adversity, he forged ahead, always keeping in his mind the reasons he was out in front, fighting the fight. It was for him and it was for his family, but it was for the greater good of mankind, teaching us the lessons of kindness, forgiveness and ultimately human equality.