Weather and MLK Helped Eradicate Smallpox?

This year marks the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s  visit to the University of Michigan.  The Michigan Daily published an April 15, 2012,  article about how “David Erdody, a digital curator at the Bentley Historical Library, discovered a series of 20 photo negatives” of MLK’s visit.  I read about this in Edward Vielmetti‘s 4/20/12 blog post and recalled a 2011 talk at U of M by Dr. Larry Brilliant in which he remembers being at that MLK talk on a wintry night when few ventured out and being duly inspired to find his life’s work… among which includes eradicating smallpox worldwide.

I’m copying my comments to Ed’s blog post here to remind us that seeming small coincidences and decisions can result in huge outcomes…

Check out Dr. Larry Brilliant’s life changing account of hearing Dr. King at Hill Auditorium… at about the 25:25 mark in this video of Dr. Brilliant’s inspirational 2011 SNRE Peter Wedge Lecture on sustainability at Rackham.

As reported the following day by SNRE News and Updates:
“Brilliant traced his own career, from sitting on the Hill Auditorium stage with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as an undergraduate in the 1960s to his current role addressing pressing issues of global sustainability.”

Think about the coincidences… A young college student with no goals… a stormy night when most people would not venture out to hear an relatively unknown preacher… to therefore being invited on stage to be personally inspired… to happen into a series of unusual experiences… to lead a seemingly impossible effort to eradicate smallpox worldwide… to hold its last victim… and to go on to tackle more world problems. Destiny?

(P.S. Be sure to watch until at least the 30:50 mark for the best line in the video.  Actually, go on and listen to the rest of his talk for his calls to action.)

 

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2 Responses to “Weather and MLK Helped Eradicate Smallpox?”

  1. Nicolas Babicz Says:

    Smallpox, a highly contagious disease, is unique only to humans. The smallpox virus is caused by two virus variants called Variola major and Variola minor. Variola major is the more deadly form of the virus; it usually has a mortality rte of 20-40 percent of those that are infected with the virus. Variola minor on the other hand is much less severe and only kills 1% of its victims. Neither of the Variola’s are bugs that you want to get. Avoid them at all costs!.’

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  2. Roger Rayle Says:

    2014/05/26 Addendum:  Video clip of Dr. Larry Brilliant’s 2014 commencement talk at the University of Michigan… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiTvKXpillo

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