To Serve [Relando Thompkins]
I love Dr. King’s words on service. The way that he laid them out so passionately in “The Drum Major Instinct” sermon on February 4th, 1968 are still relevant today and continue to inspire me.
(can’t see the video? Click Here.)
“..everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. And you can be that servant.”
There’s Plenty of Room
I love this definition of greatness through service because it leaves room at the table for all of us.
No matter what your position is, no matter what your interests are, you can be great, because you can serve. No matter what challenges you might have faced, or may currently be facing, you can be great, because you can serve. As a matter of fact, I’m a firm believer that our life experiences and challenges can sometimes enhance our abilities to help others.
Some Reflections on the Limits of Sainthood [Crunk Feminist Collective]
King’s sermon is not a series of platitudes but an admonition for our own time. Indeed, it’s high time that we take our icons, our saints, off the pedestal and really heed their advice. Keeping MLK and others as distant, perfect leaders is really a cop out, a way to assuage our guilt at being “inadequate” heirs to the Movement, or to fool ourselves into thinking we’ve achieved some “post-racial” paradise, or to convince ourselves that the task of liberation is just too daunting. On this MLK day, I think that we owe it not only to MLK’s memory, but to the many forgotten foot soldiers of the CRM and Black Power Movement, to do more than recite sound bites or raise our fists in mock salute. We need to remember the richness, the complexity, the contradictions, and the power of black political struggles in the U.S. and across the Diaspora, and continue not only believing that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, but we must continue doing something about it–at home and in the streets.