[January 16, 2017] Martin Luther King, Jr., was a great leader and all inspiring students of leadership should study him closely.1 The reason is that MLK was not just a great visionary and communicator but that he was great despite his many deep personal flaws. We should remember both his achievements and his struggles for that is what being a leader is about.
“Segregation is a cancer in the body politic which must be removed before our moral and democratic health can be realized.” – Marti Luther King, Jr.
I’m continually amazed in MLK’s capability to “see” with clarity the moral position of so many things in our society and then communicating it to everyone in easy to understand terms. People who can do this are indeed rare. They require no advisors, no focus groups, no political surveys, and no assistance from experts. They seemed to be born with an uncanny ability to see what is right and what is wrong. This was Martin Luther King, Jr.
Today, many people of from all walks of life reject MLK’s message on morality. That is unfortunate because King premised his teachings on the Bible of Christianity and the holiness of good. One doesn’t need to be Christian to understand him and that is why I so admire King and his message. He taught that we must first understand what is good and then follow the difficult path to see that good wins over evil.
Forty-nine years ago on April 4, 1968, MLK was slain at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Politicians were quick to propose a national holiday in his honor; an icon, untouchable. Those who honor him today remain are so often obsessed with his ideas on race and how to solve the scourge of racial segregation that they overlook the real man and his struggles over his personal fears, infidelity, health problems, the morality of war, etc.2,3
Martin Luther King, Jr. was a flawed man and we should learn that it is often that very kind of person who rises to greatness when we least expect it. MLK did so. In today’s perfectionist world, another similar religious MLK would never rise to prominence. That is a shame that we all bear.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a day about celebrating the good character in all humans.
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- Here is one of my favorite websites on Martin Luther King Jr. It also provides nearly a million documents about him as a scholar, father, and pastor: https://edubirdie.com/blog/biggest-accomplishments-of-dr-king