Miller School of Albemarle

Martin Luther King Jr. and Me by Ashley Bowles

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“I Have A Dream”, powerful speeches, famous marches, and one of the most memorable civil rights activists ever. This is what Martin Luther King Jr. is known for to the average person. In textbooks and class notes this vague information is all we receive. We typically learn the date of his birth, what he did like speeches and marches, and when and how he died. Basically that is the general summary of Martin Luther King Jr. However, as an African American I have taken this vague information and transformed it into broader ideas.

“Martin Luther King Jr. was no ordinary man,” stated Coretta Scott King. On January 15, 1929, a miracle was born into this world, but was personally given to Marin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King. Even as a child he never failed to ask discerning questions about the world around him. Mr. King wasn‟t satisfied with the lives he and other African Americans were living. He wanted to make a difference. He knew it was time to make a change. This is where I envisioned Mr. King‟s dream a little bit different.

I envision Mr. King‟s dream as having a more personal meaning. I see it as wanting to be different than your peers. His dream is about making a difference not only in your life but others. After all, Mr. King was threatened, arrested, and even had his house burned. None the less, he kept on striving and progressing. Looking back at history, the ones who make a difference are the ones who do something others aren‟t willing to do or do what others are afraid to attempt.

Mr. King has taught me that it‟s ok to stand out and be different. I was faced with a difficult dilemma where the result would have without a doubt change my future. Following Mr. King‟s dream I decided on my own to be different and take that risk to venture out and transfer schools. It was scary and it was difficult. However, I have a feeling that Mr. King would have admired my decision and dedication of wanting to have a better future and sacrificing a lot to make sure that happens.

Mr. King‟s dream reminds me to strive to be a leader. After all, that is exactly what Mr. King was. He led numerous marches and sit-ins and did it in a respectable way. Mr. King was what other people didn’t expect him to be.

King became the leader of the NAACP after being a member of the executive committee. Mr. King took full advantage of his leadership potential and in 1957 joined with other Civil Rights activist to found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and later was elected as its president. By all of his dedication and fight, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and the American Liberties Medallion. From following Mr. King I now strive to be viewed as a leader. I might not be as outspoken or have a powerful demeanor like Mr.King, but I still do my best to lead by example. I try to be a mentor and role model to my peers. It‟s a quality that I believe is very important to obtain.

I‟ve also learned from Mr. King‟s dream to not let others doubt your abilities. Even from my parents I‟ve learned that there are going to be those that think you don‟t have the ability to accomplish some matters. Mr. King had people doubting him all the time, even some of his own kind. They didn‟t believe in the dream Mr. King had in store for this world. They thought it couldn‟t be done and that he was just wasting his time. Thankfully, just sitting around doing nothing wasn‟t good enough for Mr. King. Like Mr. King, I don‟t admire people who doubt my abilities. I‟ve learned from his dream to do what others say I can‟t. For example, I’ve had people say that I will never be able to play basketball in college and I wouldn‟t be good enough to even get that opportunity. Just as Mr. King did, I didn’t let those people discourage my goals. I strived to be the best I knew I could be. I did what they said I couldn’t and I‟m proud to say I have proven them wrong and have been accepted to college to play basketball!

As an African American, I was born into a stereotype. It wasn‟t expected of me to speak as well as I do. When I went and visited the school I will be attending next fall, they had me stand up and answer a few questions. Shockingly, the people attending at that time were stunned at how clearly I spoke. The faces of the onlookers looked puzzled and shocked as if to say wow I can‟t believe that is coming out of this girls mouth. At that moment I challenged the stereotype that had been set for me. Mr. King challenged this stereotype also. He led many sit-ins and marches. Surprisingly, many thought he would be loud and violent about getting his points and views across but he was the complete opposite.

Protesters did their best to remain peaceful, they were occasionally met with violence from authorities, and King was arrested multiple times. Even being held behind bars didn‟t halt Mr. King‟s perseverance.

In jail he wrote “Letter From Birmingham Jail”, which defended his view on racial justice and nonviolence.
In my opinion, Martin Luther King Jr‟s dream has more depth than people have realized. By presenting his speech he demonstrated how important it is to be a leader, to challenge stereotypes, to fight off doubters, to stand out, and to make a difference. Most importantly, to strive for a better future and a better life for yourself.

„I Have a Dream‟ is remembered as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, speech of the 20th century. What I wish people would consider is all the little things that Martin Luther King Jr stood for. I wish people would pay attention to how he carried himself and the little things he did that led to the big accomplishments. Mr. King was an amazing man that had a dream and wasn‟t satisfied until it came true the exact way he envisioned it. Like Mr. King said, “They told us we wouldn‟t get here. And there were those who said we would get here over their dead bodies. We ain‟t goin let nobody turn us around.”

Written by Miller School of Albemarle

January 27, 2011 at 3:11 PM

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