Monday, January 20, 2020

Business Law Work and Martin Luther King Jr.

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[Image courtesy of Clipart Library, http://clipart-library.com/mlk-cliparts.html]

Today, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I was in the office preparing for the week+ ahead.  I was not the only one there.  Part of me wanted to be elsewhere, publicly supporting the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  I did think about him and his work as I toiled away.

Although most of what I was sorting and sifting through today was business law-related, part of what I focused on was committee work for our celebration tomorrow that honors Dr. King.  I chair a committee at UT Law this year that is responsible for hosting one or more Martin Luther King Jr. events every year.  This year, we will have a luncheon and informal table discussions based on facts about Dr. King and quotes from his public appearances and published work.  As I was going through the facts and quotes, I came upon this quote: "No work is insignificant.  All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence."  (The quote is apparently from Strength to Love, a 1963 book of Dr. King's sermons.)  Admittedly, it spurred me on and made me feel more than a bit better about devoting much of my day to somewhat menial tasks. 

As I continued to read through the quotes, I kept finding more and more that interested me.  I observed that, among other things, Dr. King's speeches and writings address leadership in many ways.  One of my favorites along these lines: "Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability but comes through continuous struggle."  Yes!  And another: "An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."  Right!  And inspiring, too, for those of us who are concerned about our students.

As I think about teaching materiality (in Securities Regulation), public company charter and bylaw issues (in Advanced Business Associations), and closely held corporation bylaw drafting (in Representing Enterprises) tomorrow, I plan to carry Dr. King's courage, perseverance, and energy into my day.  And I hope that my students are ready to respond to my teaching with enthusiasm, trust, and confidence at this early stage of the semester. "Faith," Dr. King said, "is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase."  I may read that in class tomorrow . . . .

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