From Montgomery to Memphis: Lessons on Leadership from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

What’s your dream?


On April 4, 1968 the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee — dramatically changing the course of history and forever cementing his important role in the civil rights struggle. The night before King was assassinated he delivered his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech in support of striking sanitation workers. The words he spoke were his last in public and are a testament to his leadership; despite his tragic death his meaningful life still motivates others.

King inspired his followers towards a collective independence – confidence in themselves and a lasting commitment to each other. He wanted the struggle to continue beyond his time and knew that would only happen if he empowered others. Celebrating King’s leadership style, in March 2004 I presented a paper titled, “From Montgomery to Memphis: Lessons on Leadership from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” at the 16th annual conference of the International Academy of Business Disciplines in San Antonio, Texas. The paper examines King’s leadership style during his time and the lasting impression his efforts continue to make. 

The abstract for the paper reads as follows:

From humble beginnings, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a nation – and the world – out of the chains of societal slavery. How did he achieve such lasting results?  Leadership is a skill few individuals master. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of those individuals. This paper explores King’s success and presents a framework in which anyone can learn to become a great leader.

If you’d like to read the full paper you can do so below: