In honor of Black History month, it occurred to me that there is no better occasion, no more appropriate task, no clearer challenge than to ponder the question posed by the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his book “Where Do We Go From Here - Chaos or Community”. I’ve read this book several times as a young man, and still reference it today when I want to remind myself that we, as a society, have been here before.
You see, the book was first published in June of 1967. At the time, his prophetic warnings of the disenfranchised and marginalized segments of our society seemed nothing more than a distant, non-threatening, inconvenient dark cloud. Why? Because for the reality of many White Americans, this was nothing but a passing shower, a storm that is likely to dissipate. Yes, things weren’t fair, certainly not equal, but for many, the plight of the poor and disadvantaged was a mere unfortunate blemish for America, the most economically dominate and powerful country in the world.
Fortunately for us all, Dr. King’s wisdom foresaw that change was possible with conviction. That American could not live its full potential while leaving large segments of society behind. He understood the power derived once individuals are given the opportunity to control their own destinies. Dr. King wrote,
“It is time for the Negro middle class to rise up from its stool of indifference, to retreat from its flight into unreality and to bring its full resources- its heart, its mind and its checkbook – to the aid of the less fortunate brother and sister.”
He went from human rights to equal rights. Rights to a better education and job opportunities so families could make a decent living, get a loan, buy a home, start a business, become self-sufficient. As a CFP® with 30 plus years of financial planning for my clients, I too believe that we need to focus on creating family legacies which affirmatively answers Dr. King’s question.
YES, building communities…not chaos.
In closing, I recommend you find this book where books are sold. Read it and pass it on.
In honor of Dr. King, perhaps the book becomes a tool to go beyond color and creed to meet in a place where community of character could truly make America great.
Eric D. Bailey