Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. remains a prominent figure in world history, and his death is still mourned today after 50 years since the assassination. Martin Luther King Jr. Day marks the birthday of this great hero, and this year, it was celebrated on Monday, Jan. 16. As a part of the celebration, Saint Leo had a guest speaker, Dr. T. Leon Williams, share his inspirational monologue entitled “The View from the Mountaintop: What would Dr. King say today?”
Dr. Williams is an educator, speaker, and campus pastor at Elon University in North Carolina. For more than ten years, he has traveled to 25 different states to present his speeches to over 10,000 faculty, staff, and students. He has also been the headline speaker at several well-known multicultural conferences in the US, such as the National Multicultural Conference, NASPA, SEPC and NCORE just to name a few. His educational programs on diversity challenge the perceptions of the public about multiculturalism. Along with his diversity workshops and seminars, Williams is an outstanding writer and dramatist, as seen in his monologues in which he assumes the role of Dr. King and presents his interpretation of what he would have to say today. His previous work includes the speech “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory.”
The latest speech, “The View from the Mountaintop,” addresses the historical importance of the progress made in the post-Civil Rights America. The speech reflected on the negative sentiments that remain today and offered a remedy to the situation, love and truth.
“Until we come to Truth, we are denying ourselves of freedom every day,” said T. Leon Williams.
His opening centered around the mantra “Freedom Everyday,” which he shared in a personal anecdote about one of his visits to Chicago. He also mentioned that change, with the help of the younger generation, is required for all to be free. His speech addressed themes of hope for the lost and hurting, faith, justice, and the importance of clarity. Even though America has come closer to the end of racism, prejudice, and segregation, the acts of violence and discrimination make it evidence that it is still out of reach.
The monologue was well received by the audience members, who were enraptured by not only the impact of his words but also his impersonation of King Jr.
“I loved his impression of Martin Luther King! His voice was spot on. I think the speech was amazing and very relevant to things we see happening today. His message was clear and true; the violence and hate can only be fixed with love and truth from all parties,” said Cynnique Johnson, a sophomore biology major.
The event was well attended by many persons and organizations on campus including, Greek life and student government, as well as faculty and locals from the community. Everyone would agree that T. Leon Williams’ presentation was the perfect closing to another Martin Luther King Jr. Day.