Birthdays give me an opportunity to brag on great people, who happen to also be wonderful friends too. Rev. Dr. Bernice A. King is one of those very special people in my life.

The world knows Dr. King is the daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., now CEO of the King Center. She is also a board member of Operation HOPE. She also co-chairs Project 5117, along with a dear friend of her father, civil rights icon Ambassador Andrew Young, and myself. This work will humbly continue the unfinished poverty eradication work of her father.

Most of all, Dr. Bernice A. King is a wonderful human being, that most people simply don’t know very well. As a person, I mean.

Most people know Dr. King only as the daughter of Dr. King and Coretta Scott King, but she is so much more than that. An attorney, a credentialed minister of the gospel, a founder of her own organization, a leader of a national organization with global impact, a speaker, advocate, framer of social policy, and social justice champion for those without a voice.

Most people don’t know about her work to continue her parents legacy, on the ground in Atlanta, and throughout the southern states.

Most people don’t know that Dr. King serves as CEO of the King Center for zero compensation. That’s right. Just like her father, she does this work on behalf of the people for free.

Most people don’t know that she has a sense of humor. She can be very, very funny, and has an infectious laugh.

Most people don’t understand that when they see her out and about, say at a public event, and she’s not all that talkative — it’s because she is both intensively focused and intensively shy. That said, she is also an excellent listener. How many leaders in the public eye can you say are excellent listeners? Precisely my point (smile).

But most of all, I have found Dr. King (who I lovingly call “B”) is super, super authentic. She’s not playing a game. What you see I s what you get, and her life is largely about the work. The work, for others.

She is constantly ‘in service’ to others. And she has never brought disrespect or shame to this vaulted name, in 50 years of active living. Now that’s saying something.

Most people don’t know that she loves young people, and works specifically with young girls. This one focus alone can become a game changer in today’s society. Where the role of young people is going to become so critical to the ongoing growth, stability and prosperity of a nation.

In short, I love me some “B.” What a great person.

Happy birthday my friend. Happy birthday. Enjoy your day.


John Hope Bryant is the founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), and is the only 2010-2012 bestselling business author in America who is also African-American. Hisnewest book, due out May, 2014, is HOW THE POOR CAN SAVE CAPITALISM, and will be published byBerrett Koehler Publishing).

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