MLK Jr. was a person who inspired others, as much as he was inspired by others.Though he was a charismatic, gifted, and intelligent speaker - his total ability came not from "him" - but from "them" - all of the many persons in many cities for whom MLK served as a mouth-piece for their common voice and their common struggle. In many ways, MLK's ability to lead emerged not so from who he was - but how he connected others. The ability to connect and partner persons in a common cause - and one of non-violent integrity - is the mark of leadership strength.
“King constantly pointed out to those in the freedom movement that their refusal to respond in kind to the violence and terrorism of their opponents was increasing their own strength and unity. He reminded them and the world that their goal was not only the right to sit at the front of the bus or to vote, but to give birth to a new society based on more human values. In so doing, he not only empowered those on the front lines, but in the process developed a strategy for transforming a struggle for rights into a struggle that advances the humanity of everyone in the society and thereby brings the beloved community closer to realization. This is what true revolutions are about.”
—Grace Lee Boggs, from her article “The Beloved Community of Martin Luther King” commemorating the 75th anniversary of his birth.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks in Paris in March 1966. (photo: AFP/Getty Images)Cited from the On Being Blog - at this link.