King’s legacy lives on at Queens

Quotes from Dr. King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech were displayed on posters during the 2015 MLK parade in uptown Charlotte on Saturday, January 17th Jessy Epley

Quotes from Dr. King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech were displayed on posters during the 2015 MLK parade in uptown Charlotte on Jan. 17.

On Aug. 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech. On Jan. 21, 2015, Charlotte native, T. Leon Williams, visited Queens to carry on Dr. King’s legacy with a compelling speech of his own, in which he discussed inequality and the ongoing civil rights movement.

With less than 10 attendees, Williams filled the room with his inspiring words and left his small audience in silence with chill bumps gracing their skin.

He began motivational speaking in 1999. His goal was to bring Dr. King to his generation by creating a program on his college campus. With no previous background in theater or public speaking, he studied Dr. King and Gandhi to learn just what it was that made people listen.

Williams started a monologue of his own and polished the story over time using a similar delivery style and as used in Dr. King’s famous speech.

In his most famous writing, “My Eyes Have Seen The Glory,” Williams reflects on our nation’s progress and calls his audience to action by promoting peace and harmony during the fight against injustice and inequality.

Williams said that if Dr. King were living today, King would be truly disappointed in the many controversial deaths of 2014, and that Williams too, is disappointed in our country’s overall progression.

“America is tired,” said Williams.

“A world cannot inflict hurt on itself and not expect to get hurt back. We are killing our own people” he said, “Black or not, those people were Americans.”

Williams expressed that nonviolence is the only way for our nation to ever move forward and that this generation, and many to come, must re-evaluate the past and accept it for what it was; and work together to create a better place for all people to live in harmony.

“If we’re taking selfies, we’re going to miss the issue,” said Williams. Now is the time for us to stand up and speak out. Williams said that we must have a “different lens” than those in the past, because the Civil Rights Movement is far from over.

This generation can truly make a difference and now is the time. As Dr. King once said, “We shall overcome.”

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Published by students of Queens University of Charlotte, 1900 Selwyn Avenue, Charlotte, N.C. 28274.