By Christopher Gill
February 7, 2013
New York Times bestselling author, Nathan McCall, encouraged Lock Haven University students to always strive for their best during the Martin Luther King celebration, on campus, last Wednesday.
McCall, a Professor of African American Studies at Emory University, was invited to attend the celebration as the featured speaker.
He told the audience he had trouble with Martin Luther King’s message as a youth because he was not in the right state of mind. McCall explained how he once believed King was “irrelevant,” and how his life experiences lead him to now understand the importance of King’s message. McCall said he reached a low point, where he could only climb upward.
“I discovered once I built up my intellect, I could raise my self-esteem and once I raised my self-esteem I could change my outlook, and once I changed my outlook I could take charge of my destiny,” he said.
During his life, King traveled more than six million miles and spoke more than 2500 times, was arrested more than twenty times and assaulted four times including being stabbed. He wrote five books and numerous essays on the subjects of segregation and civil rights.
McCall extended the challenge to become the most intelligent and informed person one can be and urged the crowd to remember the sacrifices of those who made it possible to get where one is today. No matter the color of one’s skin, he or she is standing firm on the shoulders of Dr. Martin Luther King.
He quoted King, saying, “Through our scientific and technological genius, we have made of this world a neighborhood and yet we have not had the ethical commitment to make of it a brotherhood. But somehow, and in some way, we have got to do this. We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools.”
McCall emphasized King’s life and the messages he preached still echo in daily life, especially as the world becomes a more global society. McCall urged the audience to learn to walk together as brothers in a pluralistic society.
“When you’re traveling on an ocean liner, there are people traveling first class, second class, and third class, but if the boat sinks, we all go down together,” McCall said.
Preceding McCall’s speech were the Meriam B. Harris Excellence Awards. Meriam B. Harris was the first African American to received a teaching degree at Lock Haven University. The criteria for the award are: a commitment to encouraging an understanding and appreciation of diversity, mentoring and leadership skills that support diversity on and off campus, playing a supporting/influential role in retention and recruitment of underrepresented students at LHU, and creating an open and welcoming environment that honors all people no matter their ethnicity, gender, and/or lifestyle.
The three recipients of the awards were Ally Taylor, a Lock Haven university senior and RA, Associate Professor Dwayne Marshall, and Dominos pizza.
Chris Gill is a junior majoring in secondary education and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org