On this particular day, when we remember Martin Luther King Jr., we often talk about all the fantastic things he did as a minister, activist, humanitarian, and champion of civil rights. But there's something important we sometimes overlook: he was also a dad.
When King gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech on August 28, 1963, during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, he wasn't just a leader; he was a loving dad to four young kids—Yolanda, Martin Luther III, Dexter, and Bernice. They were all pretty young, with Yolanda and Martin Luther III about to turn 8 and 6, Dexter just a few months away from his 3rd birthday, and little Bernice only five months old.
Think about it. King, who was 34 at the time, wasn't just fighting for justice and equality. He was also dealing with the everyday challenges of being a dad. He passionately said, "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." These words weren't just about the nation; they were about his children's future. I pray that this enhances your understanding of that moment, quote, and prayer.
Considering King as a father helps us see a different side of him, an even better side of him. He wasn't just a famous leader; he was a dad who, along with his wife Coretta, had to balance family life with their fight for justice. It reminds us that even our greatest heroes are regular people, too. They have to manage their roles as parents, spouses, friends, and neighbors, just like the rest of us. They face everyday challenges like going grocery shopping and visiting the dentist and even car problems, I am sure.
Today, as we honor Martin Luther King Jr., let's also consider his family, especially his kids and grandkids, who continue his legacy and wish for him to be here, not to save the world, but to be around to share this world with them. It's important to know that King was well aware of his family's sacrifices because of his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. At Coretta King's request, some of this is revealed in "The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.," edited by Stanford University professor Clayborne Carson.
King's tragic assassination on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee, while he was advocating for the rights of striking sanitation workers, is a sad reminder of how arduous the struggle was on his life. He was just 39 years old.
During the Montgomery bus boycott in 1956, the Kings had to deal with scary phone calls and threats. The Ku Klux Klan was causing fear in black neighborhoods, and their family home was even bombed while Coretta was at home with her baby daughter, Yolanda.
Coretta once said, "What most didn't understand back then was that I wasn't just married to the man I loved; I was also married to the movement that I loved." She meant that she was fully committed to both her husband and the cause they believed in.
So, as we remember Martin Luther King Jr. today, let's celebrate his significant achievements and remember his family's strength and courage. Let's be inspired to live our lives in a way that makes the world better, just like he did. Let's aim to live without regrets, make our families proud, and always thank God for everything we do.