Leadership Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King
Leadership is not defined by a title, yet the role an individual takes on when they believe in a greater vision to make a difference. As a culmination to the legacy celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Northwestern University hosted a keynote presentation by Myrlie Evers-Williams, author and civil rights activist, who shared a story of Dr. King starting out as a young leader. She explained how elder members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an African-American civil rights organization, attempted to prevent Dr. King from having a voice in their upcoming March on Washington. The SCLC believed Dr. King was too young, aggressive and felt he would take away their power at their first major event for civil rights, Evers-Williams explained. Members of the SCLC decided to allow Dr. King to participate by placing him last on the speaker’s roster with the thought attendees would be tired and not stick around to hear him speak. Despite their assumptions, the audience of over 200,000 people remained. It was on this day Dr. King shared his inspiring, historical “I Have a Dream” speech. Dr. King’s supporters were committed to him “because he was the last to speak and then it became his march,” according to Evers-Williams. It was from 1963 onward, Dr. King lead the SCLC and civil rights movement. Everyone has the potential to be a leader in their own respect. If you have a passion and vision meshed with hope, faith and trust it will be fulfilled, then you already have the fundamental leadership tools. Whether leading a team project at work or starting a global movement you can be a leader.