Dr. King overcame great adversity

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jason Craig
  • 90th Operations Support Squadron
Like every man, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was a man of many great accomplishments who overcame many hardships and shortcomings. He spent his life demonstrating the monumental character and tenacity of a great leader and human being.

King suffered a great deal of adversity in his youth.

Throughout most of Dr. King's childhood he suffered from depression. In his adolescent years, he initially felt resentment against whites due to the racial humiliation that he, his family and his neighbors often had to endure in the segregated South.

He endured regular whipping from his father until he was fifteen. A neighbor reported hearing the elder King say, "He would make something of him, even if he had to beat him to death."

At age 12, shortly after his maternal grandmother died, King blamed himself and jumped out of a second story window, but survived.

He was originally skeptical of many of Christianity's claims, but he later decided to enter the seminary. Although King is often remembered as an amazing public speaker, he got a C grade in public speaking during his first year at seminary. By his final year, King had straight A's, was valedictorian of his class and the student body president.

These events in his life may be reasons behind him saying, "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

In 1963, Dr. King helped organize the March on Washington and delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.

On October 14, 1964, Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence.

As Americans and defenders of this great nation, our goal should be to build upon the dreams he left behind: a dream where children will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character; and a nation that will rise up and live out the true meaning of the creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."