This year makes it 50 years, since the world lost Martin Luther King Junior at a young age of 39, but let’s not dwell on this for a second. I mean it’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day; today marks another memorial of his strides of revolutionary Leadership.

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We have witnessed the actualization of his dreams in our lifetime. Shouldn’t this suffice to unravel pearls of wisdom from the revolutionary Leader? Let’s learn from him:

Martin Luther King Jr. Was A Man Of Vision And Culture

Against all odds, even when it costs him his life, Martin Luther King Junior had a dream, and committed to his dreams. “This is what is going to happen to me also. I keep telling you…” He predicted about his death, to his wife, when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

A day before Martin Luther King Junior’s passing, in his I have been to the Mountain top  speech, he reemphasized his unflinching belief saying, “…I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!”

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Leadership is about having a vision and working at your vision. When Leaders have a vision, they also create a ‘how’, to go to work on it.

John Maxwell comments about MLK Jr:

“Vision is ‘I have a dream’… Vision is about ‘One day’. When Martin Luther King Jr. spoke those words in 1963, he inspired people from all over the nation to participate in the Civil Rights Movement.”

John Maxwell also rightly notes that having a precise map on how to make the vision come through is tantamount to fulfilling the vision.

“Culture is ‘this is how we march… Culture is ‘everyday’. King and his leaders had been describing and modeling a very specific culture to the participants for years: one of nonviolence and passive resistance.”

Leadership Is About Serving Humanity

Credit: thehistory.com

One profound Testimony by Jacquelyn Hawkins a Gospel minister and Public Administrator whose father worked closely with Dr. King attested of King’s servant leadership style.

“I remember that night very vividly. Dr. King stood next to me and offered his hand. I was like, ‘Oh, my goodness!’ and I was immediately struck… that he was such a humble man. He was not unapproachable, and I could actually feel the warmth and genuine compassion coming from him. Here was this international figure who led the march on Washington and won the Nobel Peace Prize, yet he was so humble that he looked me right in the eyes with genuine warmth.”

Dr. King’s was not only known for his dedication to civil rights movement but also his faith-based works. Actually, there was no line between the both for him.

“Dr. King and his family wanted people to know that the Civil Rights Movement was really all about love—people loving their fellow man. He would say that this was a spiritual movement, not just a Civil Rights movement,” said Hawkins.

Leadership Is Leaving A Legacy

USA. Baltimore, MD. October 31, 1964. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. being greeted on his return to the US after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. (Credit: Leonard Freed/Magnum)

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Exactly 40 years after King’s passing we had the first African-American President. Let’s not forget that on this journey, Martin Luther King Jr. had been arrested more than 25 times, conducted 8 game-changing Peaceful Protests, received a Nobel Peace Prize, gave one of the most unforgettable speeches in history (even my father can quote it word-for-word), was shot on a motel balcony.

What more can describe the perseverance to see a dream come true; a dream that wasn’t just for those in King’s generation but for those who’d come after him. This is truly leaving a legacy. Like I said, exactly 40 years after King’s passing we had the first African-American President, and now almost 50 years later, we just had the first black woman honored with the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award.

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HAPPY MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY!