“And there is deep down within all of us an instinct. It’s a kind of drum major instinct — a desire to be out front, a desire to lead the parade, a desire to be first. And it is something that runs the whole gamut of life.”

   Milwaukee artist and activist Sam Alford played those words in a lengthy excerpt of the Rev. Martin Luther King’s sermon, “The Drum Major Instinct.”

   Alford was keynote speaker for Ripon College’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2019. About 85 students, faculty and community members gathered in the Great Hall of Harwood Memorial Union late Monday afternoon for the three-hour dinner-time event.

   Alford’s presentation, “Leadership through the Eyes of MLK,” featured King’s sermon, delivered in February 1968 in Atlanta.

   King told the story of several disciples asking Jesus if they could help him lead, causing their master to respond that to lead they needed to be servants.

   “He didn’t condemn their ambition or audacity,” Alford said.

   King noted that many people today have that same desire to serve, what he called the “drum major instinct.”

   Read the full story in the Jan. 24, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.