October 29, 2017
Martin Luther King, Jr in his speech to students at Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia on October 26, 1967, where he delivered his speech “What Is Your Life’s Blueprint?”, he laid out three powerful principles of life that everyone should know and live by. His principles are timeless and should be shared far and wide. Below are his principles. Be inspired!
1. Deep belief in your dignity, your own worth, and your own ‘sombodiness.’
2. You must have as a basic principle, the determination to achieve excellence in your various fields of endeavor.
3. Commitment to the eternal principles of beauty, love, and justice.
This is Martin Luther King Jr.’s full speech as it was written. You can also watch the video below the rarely seen footage of Martin Luther King, Jr., speaking directly to students at Barratt Junior High School on that day in Philadelphia.
“I want to ask you a question, and that is: What is in your life’s blueprint? This is a most important and crucial period of your lives for what you do now and what you decide now at this age may well determine which way your life shall go. Whenever a building is constructed, you usually have an architect who draws a blueprint, and that blueprint serves as the pattern, as the guide, as the model for those who are to build the building, and a building is not well erected without a good, sound and solid blueprint.
Now each of you is in the process of building the structure of your lives, and the question is whether you have a proper, a solid and a sound blueprint. I want to suggest some of the things that should be in your life’s blueprint.
Number one in your life’s blueprint should be a deep belief in your own dignity, your own worth, and your own ‘somebodiness.’ Don’t allow anybody to make you feel that you are nobody. Always feel that you count. Always feel that you have worth, and always feel that your life has ultimate significance…
Secondly, in your life’s blueprint, you must have as a basic principle the determination to achieve excellence in your various fields of endeavor. You’re going to be deciding as the days and the years unfold what you will do in life, what your life’s work will be. And once you discover what it will be, set out to do it, and to do it well.
And I say to you, my young friends, that doors are opening to each of you, doors of opportunity to each of you that were not open to your mothers and your fathers and the great challenge facing you is to be ready to enter these doors as they open.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, the great essayist, said, in a lecture back in 1871, that “If a man can write a better book or preach a better sermon or make a better mousetrap than his neighbor, even if he builds his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door.”
That hadn’t always been true, but it will become increasingly true, and so I would urge you to study hard, to burn the midnight oil; I would say to you, don’t drop out of school. I understand all the sociological reasons why we often drop out of school, but I urge you, in spite of your economic plight, in spite of the situation that you are forced to live so often with intolerable conditions, stay in school.
And when you discover what you are going to be in life, set out to do it as if God Almighty called you at this particular moment in history to do it…If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Leontyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept well. If you can’t be a pine at the top of the hill, be a scrub in the valley. But be the best little scrub on the side of the hill. Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be the sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or you fail. Be the best of whatever you are…
And finally, in your life’s blueprint must be a commitment to the eternal principles of beauty, love, and justice. Don’t allow anybody to pull you so low as to make you hate them. Don’t allow anybody to cause you to lose your self-respect to the point that you do not struggle for justice…Let us keep going toward the goal of self-hood, to the realization of the dream of brotherhood and toward the realization of the dream of understanding goodwill
..We must keep moving, we must keep going. If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. But by all means, keep moving.”
Source: Video used by permission of The School District of Philadelphia. All rights reserved. Speech reprinted in A Time to Break Silence: The Essential Works of Martin Luther King, Jr., for Students, part of the King Legacy Series, published by Beacon Press (Foucusified).
Born in Los Angeles and voted off the island by the age of two. :) Billy Soden's very large family of 7 migrated east, poor as dirt, making a short stop living in a Wyoming shack that had no plumbing (seriously, only an outhouse). After discovering no other humans lived in the gorgeous but uninhabited "Forever West" state, they yearned for the city life again (and plumbing) and traveled further east where they settled in Minneapolis, current headquarters of Hope Dealer. Billy spent most of his career in music education and community education, as a teacher and administrator. He is a survivor of writing education curriculum and policy, grant writing for the fine arts, marketing copy for quarterly community events and classes, and successfully transitioned from paper post-it notes to on-screen post-it notes. Billy currently writes for the world's largest non-profit independent television and media company, NTD Television and The Epoch Times. Based in New York City, with a global audience of over 55 million viewers, Soden's stories contribute to the shared vision of uniting humanity, hope, and freedom through the authoring of engaging stories that portray the intensely compelling unification of all humankind and the planet. Billy has been a featured blogger repeatedly on a global blogging site with more than 35,000 contributors and an average of 1.1 million unique monthly visitors. His blog, "How To Squeeze A Football Team Into A Sardine Can; Growing Up In Small Spaces," touched the hearts of many through a condensed telling of growing up in a large blended family. Billy has published his first book, "U Be U," in April of 2017 and is soon to release his second, "Hope Dealer." Born with a trombone in one hand and a pen in the other, Billy's passion for music and writing developed early in life. Soden describes himself as a lucky "hack writer" and coined the term "Beatbusker," and labels himself as such. "I'm a hybrid writer," says Billy. "Kind of a cross between a beat reporter and a street performer (a busker). I know all the words. You just have to put them in the right order to make them get up and dance!" Billy is currently contracted to acquisition talent to perform with Ethan Bortnick on his number one PBS Television Program, "The Power of Music," and live performances. Ethan has helped raise over $50 million for non-profits around the world and has shared the stage with artists such as Elton John, Andrea Bocelli, Beyoncé, Josh Groban, Reba McEntire, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Celine Dion, Carlos Santana, and many others. Soden is thrilled to contribute to the humanitarian efforts of Ethan Bortnick and Sun and Sky Entertainment. Above all, Soden is most proud to be the father of his two sons, Nick and Jack Soden, who are both students of life and currently the University of Minnesota. Nick marched with the World Champion Blue Devil's Drum and Bugle out of Concord, California this year and Jack has been a state and nationally recognized musician, which led him to the decision to major in Psychology. Hope Dealer is an extension of Soden's personal beliefs and mindset that everyone can make a positive difference in the lives of others daily; regardless of social status, wealth, title, or current station in life. "If you are breathing," says Soden, "you can become a Hope Dealer."
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