Ethan Smith, News Editor
Roland S. Martin, a renowned journalist and TV host, spoke to students, faculty and administration about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “real” legacy last week to kick off Black Heritage Month.
Martin was selected as the speaker for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration that was hosted by Multicultural Affairs. Martin has been named as one of the “150 Most Influential African-Americans in the U.S.” by “Ebony” four times in his storied career.
“We as a society have made MLK a civil rights mascot,” said Martin. Throughout his speech, Martin exclaimed that America has not shown its youth who Dr. King really was, “King was a radical revolutionary.”
He stated that society as awhole has fixated on a simplisticand basic understanding of Dr. King, mainly deriving from his two most famous speeches, “I Have a Dream” and “Our God is Marching On.”
Throughout his speech, Martin repeatedly referenced one of Dr. King’s lesser known books, “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?” which highlights the growing issues that were being raised during the Civil Rights Movement. He frames the question of “chaos or community?” within the context of the demands for a better quality of life for African Americans.
“Dr. King was explaining our world today back in 1967,” said Martin.
Martin challenged the audience to do what Dr. King asked of them during his life, to demand change.
“I am trying to do what Dr. King asked us to do during our lives, and I do it everyday,” said Martin. Someone has to change the status quo today for it to change down the line from generation to generation.”
Martin ended by encouraging the attendees to not only think about Dr. King in a new way but challenge themselves to do something to change their community and their lives.
“Don’t worry about who doesn’t show up, worry about who does.” said Martin, challenging the audience to not let numbers decide success regarding change.
“Start with one small idea,find your group, be it two or 30people, and run with it. Finish that project, and move on to the next one. That’s how a movement begins,” said Martin when asked how one can start a movement.
“With ownership comes real power.”
With Black Heritage Month just beginning, the Armstrong campus will hold many more events to celebrate the history of African-Americans in Savannah and more. For more information on these events, see our weekly Campus Corkboard or contact The Office of Multicultural Affairs through their office hours or individual emails, which can be found through Georgia Southern’s website.