In an auto-biography by Martin Luther King Jr that I’ve been reading I came to the chapter that recounted the “Free in ’63” march on Washington D.C. It included a transcription of King’s incredible “I Have a Dream” Speech. I decided to listen to the audio recording of that speech instead of reading it today and I was once again absolutely amazed by the power that accompanies both the content and delivery of King that day.
Being vocationally interested in public speaking, I consume as many speeches, lectures, teachings, and question/answer sessions as I am able. I am fascinated by the craft of speaking in front of crowds; how people are swayed and carried and moved along by the power of language and charisma. That being said, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a more emotionally moving speech by anyone, at any time, than King’s offering from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
I was reminded today that there is a power in our words that shouldn’t, and can’t, be ignored. What we say, in an age when so much of our life is committed to digital record, could very well either affirm or haunt us for decades to come. I am including a link to the full speech by Dr. King and I would encourage anyone to listen and not only be moved by his words, but consider the words that we are using and think about what it might sound like 50 years from now. Will people see what we posted to Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Blogspot, YouTube, Vine, Vimeo, and whatever other sites we impress our stories upon – will they see those words and images and consider us people that they would want to follow? Or listen to? And, not to be mistaken, I’m not just referring to moral or immoral content. What I’m more interested in is the value of what we are saying. Are we offering the world anything of substance? Anything of lasting, or even eternal, value?
Listen and ponder and enjoy.