Martin Luther King. Abraham Lincoln. George Washington. In winter, we remember the birthdays of American leaders. Considering the underside of our history, we have much for which to be thankful. Things might have all turned out much worse.
Washington was the only founding father who freed his slaves. This was no passing gesture. He meant what he said. For more, read Henry Wiencek’s An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America. During the civil war, we had a president, who not only made it a goal to preserve the union but to end slavery. See Spielberg’s Lincoln. When it came to civil rights, Martin Luther King selected nonviolence as his key strategy. Lyndon Baines Johnson, a president from the Deep South, used his political capital to bring about the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Watch PBS’s LBJ.
Today an African American is in the white house—not only serving as a butler. While much work remains, our leaders have lead us. We stand in a place that most of great grandparents would have thought impossible. This winter be grateful for the time off and for leaders who believed in the vision we share as Americans. Then, gear yourself up to lead and to pursue our vision.