"We refuse to believe there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation."
-- from Dr. King's "I have a Dream" speech
One of the great economic lessons Dr. King has for us all is this: The road to prosperity requires of us faith, struggle, sacrifice, and investment, particularly for the most vulnerable. He was right to recognize that these persistent divisions are a cancer in our society, undermining our democracy and weakening our economy. His message was that the injustices of the past were not inevitable. But he knew, too, that dreaming was not enough.
The key principles to economic empowerment for Blacks include: Education- attaining higher education for professional career development; Frugality and reduction of debt to save and invest one’s money wisely; Home ownership and; Entrepreneurship and starting new business.
As Dedrick Muhammad explains in his article, “The Economic Lessons of Martin Luther King” in The Huffington Post, "One of the most overlooked aspects of Martin Luther King's legacy is his work around economic justice and poverty. Though the landmark rally in 1963 during which King delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech is widely known as "The March on Washington," the complete title of that event was "The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom." In fact, in the last year of his life, Dr. King was organizing the Poor People's Campaign, a multiracial effort to alleviate poverty and provide guaranteed income for every citizen. King understood that without greater economic equality, racial disparities and divisions could not be overcome.
“In 1967, Dr. King wrote the foreword for the Freedom Budget – a far-reaching and ambitious social proposal created by economist Leon Keyserling and March on Washington organizer Bayard Rustin. It involved massive investments in public works and infrastructure, training programs that would upgrade skills and education, employment opportunity expansion, affordable public health services, and raising the minimum wage.
“The Freedom Budget, along with many of the economic goals of the civil rights movement, never came to pass, leaving a racial economic chasm that persists to this day. Today the Freedom Budget remains startlingly relevant, emphasizing issues such as job creation, living wages, access to better health care, and wealth attainment and access to acquire for all -- relevant and urgent problems that still impair our country. It can be seen in the last two terms as President Obama has sought to address some of these issues."
Lastly the highest cost of all is waiting to take action. Taking action is essential, whether in acquiring a higher level of education, starting a part-time business, or saving and investing more. It is crucial to action now, because it costs too much to wait. Let us commit ourselves to Dr. King's economic principles