History was always my favorite subject growing up. As I read through the course catalogue in the summer before my first year at college, one particular class caught my attention, Native American History Before Europeans Arrived. “Wow,” I thought, “I’m definitely taking that class, I’ve never learned about Native American history from their perspective before.”
Native Americans were largely supporting characters in my history classes growing up. I knew the headlines but did not have a true understanding or appreciation for their history.
Along those same lines, there are so many amazing Black leaders we may know an anecdote or headline about, but how many have we really studied? These 4 leaders are household names, but I believe they have more to teach us.
Muhammed Ali: “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” I love watching historical interviews and debates on YouTube and cannot get enough of Muhammed Ali. He fought injustice, discrimination, oppression and the evils of world because he was passionate that making the world a better place was his – and all our – responsibility.
Jesse Jackson: “Deliberation and debate is the way you stir the soul of our democracy.” I agree with Reverend Jackson that debate is good for our country. Which is why it’s disappointing that so many “debaters” are more concerned about winning reelection or TV ratings than actually deliberating on what truly matters.
Coretta Scott King: “It doesn't matter how strong your opinions are. If you don't use your power for positive change, you are, indeed, part of the problem.” There is no neutral. How are all of us using our respective, “power,” to make the world a better place? Are we doing all we want to?
Colin Powell: “’If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’ is the slogan of the complacent, the arrogant or the scared. It's an excuse for inaction.” I've used all of those excuses at various times to justify inaction. Which is why it takes strength, courage and teamwork to accomplish anything important.
We can learn so much, from so many different people. That’s one of the many reasons why diverse teams, are strong teams. We all have the opportunity to take purposeful and vigorous action to build the companies, communities and country we want and our kids deserve.