When I think about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today, I reflect on the timeline of his life.
At 15 years old, he graduated from Booker T. Washington High School. Today, most 15 year olds turn 15 at the beginning of their High School careers.
At 19 years old, he graduated from Morehouse College. Most 19 year olds are at the beginning of their collegiate studies.
At 24 years old, he married Coretta Scott.
At 26 years old, he became the spokesman for the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
At 28 years old, he formed the SCLC – one of the most important Civil Rights Organizations ever created.
At 29 years old, his first book is published Stride Toward Freedom.
At 35 years old, he became the youngest to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. The same year, he witnesses the Civil Rights Act signed into law. A major accomplishment that he had devoted his life to.
At 39 years old, he is murdered.
As we think about Dr. King and the impact he was able to make on history in such a short amount of time, we must look at our own lives. Dark-skinned people are suffering around the world and some are suffering around the corner, next door and across the hall from us.
If we are to improve our plight and dig ourselves from the bottom of the social, educational and economic ladder, we must abandon the radical individualism. It can no longer be acceptable for some of us to be “ok.” If we continue to live our lives individually and isolated from each other – it is only a matter of time before we join the ranks of our disenfranchised brethren.
If not you, then who? If not now, then when? While we are all not meant to be Dr. King, we all have a role and can contribute something (without an expectation for personal gain). We can donate our time, our money and our talent and we have to do it more than once per year.
“Service is the rent we pay to be living. It is the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time.” – Dr. Marion Wright Edelman