Tim Warren

Each year, on or around the date of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth and the national holiday to commemorate him and his work, set aside some quiet time to sit, listen and contemplate his “I Have a Dream” speech. It was given on Aug28, 1963 from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at the end of a peaceful protest march in Washington, D.C. for jobs and freedom.  

King has a special place in my heart. Six months before the march on Washington, when I was 14, my father took me to hear King give a speech at Lexington High School. I was mesmerized by the beauty of his style and the power of his words and the truth in his message. I am grateful for the memory of that shared experience with my father and the unspoken message he was conveying to me. Without a doubt he was telling me that Black lives matter. 

I have no specific memory of King’s words that night in Lexington, but the “I Have a Dream” speech is well-preserved in film, audio and print. It is a message of hope and peace and unity. It is a dream of a day when the promise of our country’s founders would be fulfilled, that all people would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. He dreams of a time when it will be self-evident that all people are created equal. He dreams of a time when little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. He dreams of a time when his four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. 

He speaks to the veterans of creative suffering and civil disobedience. He dreams that they do not seek to satisfy their thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. He dreams that they will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. 

Those are big dreams and 57 years later they remain unfulfilled. But the message of hope and peace and unity is one that we need to hear now more than ever before. 

Tim Warren is the publisher of Banker & Tradesman and CEO of The Warren Group. 

We Need King’s Message More Than Ever

by Banker & Tradesman time to read: 2 min