As we approach the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's "I Have A Dream" speech and the March on Washington that highlighted him and it, I reflect upon the 50 year journey that America has taken to this space, place and time. Furthermore, I reflect on the generation of civil rights leaders who have followed Dr. King in the 50 year since.
There are a couple things that differentiate Dr. King, as well as my personal hero and mentor, civil rights icon Ambassador Andrew Young, from some other civil rights leaders of that day and this.
Dr. King was a strategist.
Dr. King was an optomist.
Dr. King was focused on what he was 'for,' not what he was against.
Dr. King was Dr. Do oriented, and not just Ph.D oriented.
Dr. King was a leader, who repeatedly responded to crisis with visionary leadership.
But the major message of today, revolves around what Dr. King, Andrew Young and others were really about. Specifically, while most civil rights leaders are fighting opression and perceived and real injustice, and defending minority groups (all of which is a legitimate and important activity in society), Dr. King, Andrew Young and others were squarely focused on "redeeming the soul of America."
Redeeming the soul of America was what Dr. King was really about, and others would be wise to follow his lead today.
John Hope Bryant is an entrepreneur, author, advisor, and one of the nation's most recognized empowerment leader. He is the founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, The Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), the only African-American bestselling business author in America, and is chairman of the Subcommittee for the Under-Served and Community Empowerment for the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability, for President Barack Obama. Mr. Bryant is the co-founder of the Gallup-HOPE Index, the only national research poll on youth financial dignity and youth economic energy in the U.S.