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Black Americans Learned Optimism in Pursuit of King's Promised Land
Dr. Russ Buss takes the opportunity of Martin Luther King Day to celebrate the optimism that was learned during the civil rights movement. King taught black Americans through word, deed, and example they no longer had to tolerate hopelessness.
1. Hope is essential for, but not equivalent to, optimism. Hope describes the dream and optimism makes it happen with that “never give in – learn from mistakes – take on and overcome tough challenges” mentality.
2. In 1963, Martin Luther King gave the world a message of hope in his “I Have a Dream,” speech. His dream: 1) blacks and whites would sit together as equals and brothers, 2) even the most racially prejudiced state, Mississippi, would be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice, 3) children born in the 1960’s would be judged by their character and not the color of their skin, and 4) hope for racial equality would be hewn out of a mountain of despair.
3. In 1963 when King expressed HOPE he was inspirational, but he WAS NOT FEARED.
4. In 1968, as the civil rights movement was reaching a crescendo of success, he delivered the famous “I have seen the Promised Land Speech,” a message of OPTIMISM that spoke of effectiveness – we NOT ONLY WILL BUT HAVE overcome – we will succeed through hard work – nonviolent effort.
5. In 1968, with the HOPE of 1963 transformed in five years of OPTIMISTIC challenge, struggle and “make-it-happen success,” KING WAS NOW FEARED. He was assassinated the day after the “Promised Land Speech.”
6. In the spring of 1968, first with the assassination of Martin Luther King and then Bobby Kennedy, I like many suffered a few or more pessimistic moments. But, the civil rights movement went forward and the equality King strove for was grandly symbolized three years ago when a “black” man was sworn in as president.
7. The less grand, but important “take-away”
8. If you are in business or sales and learn to become a “skilled optimist” your competition will retreat, sidestep, and fade away as you roll over the landscape.
9. “Only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars.” ~Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., 1968, reflects the “preposterous”
10. “When people get caught up with that which is right, are willing to sacrifice for it, there is no stopping point short of victory.” ~Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., 1968, reflects the “persistence”
11. “We are poor people, but collectively we (black Americans) are richer than all the nations of the world with the exception of nine.” ~Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., 1968, reflects the “power of collaborative”
12. “We are going into court tomorrow to fight this illegal, unconstitutional injunction. We aren’t going to let any injunction stop us. We are going on.” ~Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., 1968, reflects the “overcoming obstacles” thinking of the “skilled optimist.”
13. “I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.” ~Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., 1968, reflects the “self-confident”
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