What does it mean to be “First?” Is being first simply about getting the most for yourself, or are there other powerful ways of leading, that function to enhance the collective good? It’s a short step from these very timely questions to the feet of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
In his sermon, The Drum Major Instinct, he offers an incredibly clear model of how being first and leadership can be framed to include rather than exclude, to uplift rather than to strike down. His funeral and the public procession attended by a quarter of a million people, was an event that in many ways made manifest crucial principles of his legacy. Fifty years later, we find ourselves in need of a provocation which will re-ignite the challenges he outlined for us.
The Drum Major Project creates a civic arts engagement for diverse communities to explore how Dr. King’s legacy remains active in our lives today. This project will culminate in an historic re-enactment of Dr. King’s funeral procession on the 50th anniversary of the event. Atlantans, and citizens of the world, can take this opportunity to offer a powerful reminder to both ourselves and to the world that we can see further into a brighter future when we choose to stand on the shoulders of our native born giants.
About the team: This project is a collaboration between civic leaders, communities, artists and activists from across Atlanta. Rachel Parish, Jeremy Cormier, Flux Projects, a collective of Morehouse Alumni, and the King Center are currently building partnerships, assembling a steering committee, and recruiting participants. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to get involved.