MLK & The Beautiful Struggle
Delivery of ‘The Dream’ is part of all of our lives. The Dream offers the ultimate level of inclusion for each and every one of us. Regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or orientation, we all are part of the vision Dr. King so vividly imagined and portrayed to us with his dynamic spoken word. As I researched and studied the man who had the vision for The Dream, I discovered the immense depth The Dream embodied and the connection it offers to our teenagers and young adults dealing with identity and self-awareness while searching for their place in this world.
A young Martin Luther King found himself faced with some of the same obstacles many of our children encounter today. Biography.com describes a young Martin as a precocious child who entered Morehouse College at 15, but who was an unmotivated student who just floated through his first two years before finding his way. It goes on to say how young Martin initially questioned religion and felt uncomfortable with overly emotional displays of religious worship. And it wasn’t until his junior year, Martin began to pull it together and start on the road to becoming the iconic leader we know today. A passage from the article, “The King of Morehouse” by Brian McClure describes this occurrence best:
Although young M. L. was captivated by his academic discourse and classroom discussion, his transcript reflects his struggle with “book learning.” Records show he did not earn his first A until his junior year in 1946-47 school year, in a Bible class with Professor Kelsey. It was in Professor Kelsey’s class where M. L. learned the implications of the Christian gospel and their uses for social and racial reform. King became the president of the sociology club, a member of the debate team, student council, glee club, ministers union, the Morehouse chapter of the NAACP, and also stayed active by joining the Butler Street YMCA basketball team.
Those are some of the same sentiments that echo how many of our young people approach life today. Many of them are searching for themselves. They deal with emotional and mental stress. They are at times impatient and are often victim to this microwave society. Many of them deal with not knowing what they want to do with their lives and are uncomfortable with that uncertainty. Learning of these accounts about young Martin gives me great hope for our young people and our future.
I believe in and acknowledge Dr. King’s Dream, but I now know that it was birthed through a young man who had to come of age and find himself and his place both in life and education. Young adults need to know their life challenges are comparable to the honorable Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and their steps are not that far off from greatness.
Additionally, a major factor in young Martin’s life that our children can take advantage of are the adults who never give up on them and allow them time to grow, offering an unconditional period of learning and love. A young Martin enjoyed the support and tutelage from professors Walter P. Covers, George D. Kelsey, Samuel W. Wilson and the consistent guidance of Morehouse President Benjamin Mays. This is why we say Black Male Educators make a difference in young adults lives and 2% is not enough.
In closing, Dr. King’s Dream is always an amazing part of our history, but let’s make our young adults aware of the Beautiful Struggle that shaped the man who dreamed The Dream and articulated it so eloquently to us. They need to know they are in great and capable company.