Jan 28, 2013 | Atlanta, GA
“Be ashamed to die until you’ve done a little something to make a world in which we all must live a little better than it was when you arrived.”
That was the challenge Martin Luther King III put before a diverse audience of Georgia Tech and Atlanta community members as he wrapped up his keynote address delivered yesterday at the Student Center Ballroom. King was borrowing from the concept once articulated by educator Horace Mann – a concept “I will remember throughout my days.”
Speaking as part of Tech’s extensive annual program to honor the life of his father, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., King discounted the notion that Mann’s admonition of being ashamed to die until winning a victory for humanity was “grandiose.”
Asserting that, while some may win victories that yield city-, state-, nation- and even worldwide impact, it’s important to consider that there are other victories to be won – in our schools, neighborhoods, and places of worship, for instance.
Referring to the several obstacles of his father’s time – and victories won because of his father’s extraordinary resolve, King said paying tribute to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. isn’t about idolizing him; rather, it’s about embracing his ideals.
“My father truly believed in service,” King said. “But we live in a nation where we tend to forget about the concept of service. My hope is that service is extended beyond this holiday.”
Noting that America is known as a nation where “we roll up our sleeves and help” when people are in need, King said that help should not be forthcoming only in times of crisis.
“If millions of us were engaged in service once a month, we’d begin to see our society transform and exceed even our greatest expectations.”