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What if Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had chosen to become a Physician? Imagine That!

Posted By Margaret Larkins-Pettigrew, MD, Monday, January 15, 2018


Although today, January 15th, is the official birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I would challenge us all to reflect on his many teachings highlighting humility, honesty, honor, and civic responsibility every day. As part of our journey to give our best to others, service is the thread that weaves us together into the cloth of humanity.

Born Michael Luther King Jr. in Atlanta, Georgia, he was the first son and second child born to the Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr. and Alberta Williams King. He was one of three siblings whose grandparents were sharecroppers on a farm in Stockbridge, Georgia. His story is what
happens when every child, every dreamer with equal talent is afforded equal opportunity.

Imagine that a young Martin survived the challenges of being a black male in America, applied and was accepted to medical school. His profile would reflect a young, bright, civic-minded African American who has chosen to invest in a country he loves, his country.

Imagine that Martin has chosen medicine over becoming a Baptist minister. His rationale was that he believes that health and healing are dependent upon both physical and spiritual wellness. He wants to dedicate his life to the human rights movement where he notes,

“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men (people) are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”

We all know that this is just a portion of his “I Have a Dream” speech that has been quoted by many scholars who strive to keep the flames of hope burning for all Americans and our world. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did not choose medicine as his life’s career but he represents the epitome of a healer.

In light of the current political and domestic divisiveness that has gripped our country, let’s remember what Dr. Martin Luther King's journey stands for. Let’s remember that the art of healing is essential to weave the cloth of service for humanity that will survive turmoil and time.

Tags:  MLK 

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