I never knew how extremely wise Martin Luther King Jr. was, until I was seventeen. It was my senior year in high school. The year was 1977 unless it was last semester.Then it would have been 1978. I had the toughest English teacher in the school, Hoyt Withers. Dressed in a suit every day, dignified and pompous as all get out...but a very smart man.
Ironically enough he was also a fan of professional wrestling (wraslin').
The assignment was to choose a famous author or poet to write about and quote. The paper was going to be half our grade.
This is how crazy redunkulous my memory is. I also remember my best friend, Denise wrote about Henry David Thoreau. Don't ask me why or how I remember that, but I do.
I chose Martin Luther King Jr. and his "I Have A Dream" speech.
At the (now) baby age of seventeen, after reading his speech was blown away. I memorized a portion of the speech and remember standing up in class to quote it word for word.
If I had to choose the wisest quotes which changed my life these past years, would be between Paulo Coelho and MLK Jr.
If you've never read The Alchemist...do it and have a highlighter handy. (trust me)
If you've never heard Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech, will feel embarrassed for not having done so before now after listening to it.
I don't care if you are "red or yellow, black or white, we are precious in his sight" (old Sunday School song). I don't care if you're an American or from another country. I don't care if you're straight or gay. I don't care if you're a hater or a lover.
We are all humans and humanity needs to hear, change and learn from this message.
What this (oh so) great man said, that one day in Washington D.C. with a massive crowd watching and listening made chills run down my spine when reading it aloud in that high school senior English class back in the late seventies.
Just imagine how it makes me feel now at the tender age of almost fifty seven?
It makes me sad for all the hate but hopeful we too can overcome.