It’s January 15… MLK day. A day that honours one of the foremost leaders of the civil rights movement, Dr Martin Luther King. It’s my 2nd MLK day in the United States of America. Just less than 2 years ago, I sought to explore technology in North America, having had the coals of tech desire heated in the country of my birth, Nigeria, and their flames fanned in the green fields of Ireland. Unsurprisingly, as I looked to new adventures in tech in North America, the U.S beckoned loudest and so I came.
In no way is it lost on me, that my journey to the U.S and the work that I currently enjoy at Intel corporation, was made possible by the sacrifices of people like Dr. King and the many esteemed leaders and supporters of the civil right’s movement, black and white.
A few months ago, driven by my curiosity about the country in which I find myself. I began a rather quick, yet exceedingly rich lyrical journey through the history of America. Interestingly, I started with Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama, a 2017 tome on immediate past U.S president. It explores the different factors and developments that directly and indirectly led to the first black president of the U.S. That book led me to another book, written 31 years earlier, Bearing The Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Bearing the cross tells the story of the painful, inspiring, and even joyful events that led to the demise of segregation in the south and the Voting Rights act of 1965 which allowed blacks and other minorities to vote.
Finally, my seemingly eclectic yet intrinsically woven collage of historic accounts led me to my third book, Lincoln by David Herbert Donald. This book didn’t just describe Lincoln, his life, philosophy, and character, but also the events leading up to and surrounding the American Civil War, and the Emancipation Proclamation which outlawed slavery in the U.S.
Needless to say, my journey back in time from the 1st book to the third was fascinating. I can go on and on about the insights I gleaned from all 3, but I will leave it at this… it is evident that regardless of what colours we may bestow upon ourselves, black, white, yellow, or red, the history and future of any one person is intricately woven into the history and future of all people.
We are all brothers and sisters, and nothing can change that, no matter how hard we squabble, even if some choose to squabble unto death.
Still, I really must add this about MLK and Bearing the cross, that it revealed to me that MLK was no myth or superhero as he is often depicted today. He was just a man. A human with vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and fears, just like you and I. But he was willing to stand, get hit, and die for what he considered worth all that… truth, justice, and love.
Thank you, Dr. King. Thank you, all who stand for something more – for more than the advancement of self. Thank you to all who value justice, peace, and love. We appreciate you, and are inspired by your example.
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