The 3 Most Important Life -lessons From Dr. King’s Speech
On October 26, 1967, Martin Luther King Jr., gearing up for his iconic address to the students of Barratt Junior High, stepped up high on the pedestal and lulled the roaring crowd with just one single question, “What is your life’s blue-print?”.
Six months before the great luminary was assassinated, King eloquently spoke to a bunch of high school students about their life’s decisions and called them to commit themselves to the fight for justice and freedom.
During the extreme racial climate of the 1960s, King along with many prominent leaders of the Civil Rights Movement came together under the umbrella of justice. Their aim was to put an end to racial segregation so that education and job opportunities were just as accessible for the Blacks as were for the Whites.
Under such intense and tumultuous circumstances, when the blacks weren’t even allowed to enter public spaces without receiving racial slurs and abuse, the black identity was clearly under question. King understood how important it was for young black kids to know their roots and be proud of their politically engaging history.
His address to Barratt Junior High, therefore, intended to spark action and inspiration in the young students. Here are the major takeaways:
1.“Your Life’s Blue Print should be Embedded in Your Own Dignity”
To believe in your own dignity, worth, and integrity, even when people in power try to put you down, and to have the courage to believe in yourself should be the first thing in your life’s blueprint. “Always feel that you count”.
The oppression and systemic marginalization of the Black community made the social conditions despondent and hopeless. Yet, King pushed his listeners and followers, especially the youth, to start believing in themselves and to always believe that their “life has ultimate significance”. Everyone is somebody and this deep belief should be the most important aspect of our life’s
2. “The Determination to Achieve Excellence”
The second major lesson in King’s speech was to urge his young listeners to strive for excellence, no matter what their profession. Excellence and hard work should be applicable
to every endeavor of their lives. Whether it’s being a poet, a writer, a beautician, or a simple street sweeper, King’s message is to be the very best at what you do.
He encouraged the students to “burn the midnight oil” and study hard, and no matter what happens, no matter how dismal the economic condition gets, to never drop out of school. King laid special emphasis on the importance of seeking education in striving for excellence.
3. “Commitment to the Eternal Principles of Beauty, Love, and Justice”
And lastly, he taught that once you’ve found your purpose in life, go after it as if God had only made you for its fulfillment. King reminded his listeners that even when they’re young, they still bear the responsibility of making their nation a more compassionate, forgiving, and a just nation.
The youth is the foundation on which the nation shall stand, and therefore, they must know their profound responsibilities in the fight for justice and freedom.
To conclude with King’s parting words, “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”.