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‘Dream’ centers on helping to renew ourselves

Fulfilling King’s mission

Dr. Kelvin “Kelly” Wright National Newspaper Publishers Assn. | 1/24/2020, midnight

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,”

—A scripture reading from Romans 12:2.

Transformation is something the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was pursuing. He was seeking to fulfill his God-given dream to help lead all people to the promised land of true brotherhood.

On this national holiday week, we observe the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., a drum major who followed the drumbeat of a different drum. He did not follow the world’s cadence of anger, discord and violence but chose to operate in the unforced rhythm of God’s grace to take a stand against racism, militarism, injustice and poverty. He sought to serve others in his quest to achieve equality in civil and economic rights, along with a demand for criminal justice reforms for Black Americans.

In 1963, I remember as a child sitting at home in Hagerstown, Md. with my mother and grandmother in our living room watching a network news report on the March on Washington for Jobs and Justice. The report showed King delivering what would become a speech literally heard around the world and echoed throughout history, “I Have A Dream.”

It was a dream that set into motion the transformation of race relations in America. King’s leadership in the non-violent struggle for civil rights earned him the distinction of being called a “drum major for justice, a drum major for peace.”

But to his four children, he was simply known as “daddy.”

King was mindful of his children when he delivered his famous address, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

King’s youngest child, Bernice King, has followed in her father’s footsteps, becoming an ordained minister and continues his legacy. She believes that her dad’s dream for his children to be judged by the content of their character has, in many ways, become a reality. She says, “new generations of people have benefited greatly because of the dream, but we still have more work to do.”

King recently talked to me about her reflections of her father. Her dad’s incredible contribution to the world, she explained, is a result of his extraordinary faith in God. As I talked with her, she told me that everything her daddy did, came out of his personal commitment to Jesus Christ.

King recalls how her dad’s deep faith helped him overcome the pressures from leading the non-violent struggle for Civil Rights, particularly when the burden became too heavy to bear:

“I remember in the beginning when he was about to give up because he got a call that threatened to blow up his home where my mom and my sister were. He was in the kitchen and just before midnight, he told God; I’m at the end of my powers. I’m just down here trying to do right.”