On Jan 16th, 2023, the nation took pause to celebrate the life and civil contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King. As we all know, Dr. King was a pillar in the fight of equality and fairness for African Americans across the country. I think it would be fair to say that in those times, we as a people were faced with much anxiety, inhumane treatment, and the inability of being heard. Ironically, some of those main pain points still ring true today. In this article we will simply answer WWKS (what would King Say). If he literally speak to us to shed insight on our modern day massacres, mass incarcerations, economic disparities, and everyday dream killers no matter shape or form they arrive in….what would he say? In essence, it leaves us to wonder how African Americans can build upon his legacy to reach new heights in our shared futures. If his subliminal messages could reach across time and space, I think Dr. King would reiterate some of his most famous quotes to empower and infuse the generations of today….. to Live Beyond His Dream. They include the following.
Conversations with a King
"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."
Excerpt: Centennial Anniversary Speech for the Emancipation Proclamation, New York City, September 12, 1962
In this excerpt, Dr. King reminds that although we cannot always see the big picture in life, we must continue to do what we can to get to higher ground or a better situation. We all live in a digital age now. We have continuous distractions that can often times take our attention from what we set out to do for ourselves. And for some of us, we can’t see the whole staircase (life objective/goal) because we are too immersed into the things that are happening around us…to people we don’t even personally know. (Digital friends, digital fandom, etc.) Don’t misinterpret, I too, love social media. But I also know that in order to get where I ultimately want to go, I have to keep my eyes on the prize. Which in this case means taking the FIRST step toward my goals and ambitions on life’s staircase of hopes and dreams.
"If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do… you have to keep moving forward."
Excerpt: Spelman College “Keep Moving From This Mountain” Speech April 10, 1960
This excerpt speaks to your individual drive, determination, and your unwillingness to give up. We can all attest to many documentaries, movies, and video clips that randomly show Dr. King dealing with all kinds of meanness to the 10th power. However, he never gave up for what he believed in, nor did he give up on his quest for the greater good. His message of “keep moving forward” is a message of elevation. To keep moving toward our goals no matter how hard or impossible they may seem. Even babies “scoot” before they crawl in their efforts to stand. However, before any movement forward can materialize, we must KNOW what it truly is that we set out to accomplish. It is here, at this stage where the impossible changes form into an attainable goal. All we have to do is to keep moving toward it, without the unnecessary distractions. #FowardIsFoward
“Be a bush if you can't be a tree. If you can't be a highway, just be a trail. If you can't be a sun, be a star. For it isn't by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.”
Excerpt: Philadelphia Speech, October 26, 1967
In this speech, Dr. King is telling us that no matter what life served you, be the absolute best at it. It’s sort of like that old cliché, “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” Jokes aside, this is yet another powerful message. In essence, the message relays that no matter what level you are on, be the VERY BEST at it. Study, research, and learn all you can so that you become the “expert” on the subject, at the workplace, or just in your everyday walk thru life. Keep elevating to be the best and do not settle for just “good enough.” In the end, you don’t have to be on a level of Beyonce or Michael Jordan, to have fulfillment. Although both of the aforementioned are trailblazers in their industries, it all started with a dream. From their aspirations, they took it beyond by working on that dream. Song by song and dunk by dunk. In the end, strive to be the best of whatever you decide to become.
In conclusion, Dr. King left us powerful nuggets to illuminate the path to self-fulfillment by living past the dream stage in life. He reminds us in order to attain our desires that we must be armed with faith, determination, and tenacity to transverse life’s demands and unexpected twists and turns. Every dream is attainable. Yet in reality, we must understand that even dreams have a price tag. The biggest price is hard work. You must become a builder to cultivate your dream and then to further enable it into your own individual legacies. Living beyond the dream is the ultimate stage that we all should be striving for. Whether it is community related, financial inspired, or spiritually or socially motivated. It all begins with a dream that fuels us in becoming more of what we envisioned and then effortlessly transports us all past the deam stage into new realities.