Martin Luther King III was the featured speaker at the 24th annual R. Dan Boulware Convocation on Critical Issues in September. Along with his presentation, he attended a sponsor reception and a breakfast with 25 student leaders. He also spoke at a lunch in the Fulkerson Center.
King’s presentation in the Looney Complex, “Embracing the Ideals of Freedom, Justice and Equality,” drew two standing ovations from the audience of over 3,000.
“Those were the core principles of my father’s leadership,” he told those attending. “My parents held these ideals in high esteem, and my father’s life was focused on freedom, justice and equality.”
He said after his father died, his mother was often asked to attend or speak at events. “My mom would ask, ‘how does that serve the cause?’ And the cause was always freedom, justice and equality. That question is still worth asking today. If you hold fast to these ideals, you’re going to be okay.”
At the breakfast prior to his presentation, King opened the floor for questions from the students, and one asked him how he controlled his anger.
“A lot of times I’m disappointed,” he said, “but I try not to get angry.” In quoting his father and his message of nonviolence, he noted that “violence can’t stamp out violence.”
After the event in the arena, King participated in a question-and-answer session at the lunch for an audience of more than 300.
“Mr. King had a very important message for our students, employees, area high school students and community members,” said Dr. Robert Vartabedian, Missouri Western’s president. “It is hard to believe that in 2018, his father will have been gone for 50 years, yet his message is still as relevant today as it was then.”
Martin Luther King III views “King & Cronkite” performance
Martin Luther King III’s visit to campus for the R. Dan Boulware Convocation on Critical Issues included a sponsor reception on Monday evening, Sept. 12. The reception ended with a special performance of “King & Cronkite,” Missouri Western’s live, multimedia show.
Based on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech, “King & Cronkite” features the words of the civil rights leader and the reflections of Walter Cronkite on the civil rights movement. Through historical photographs, music, and live actors, “King & Cronkite” explores the intersecting journeys of those two who helped define the 20th century. Walter Coppage plays Dr. King and Jim Korinke plays Walter Cronkite.
“It was such an honor to be able to have Dr. King’s son view the performance,” said Jerry Pickman ’85, vice president for University Advancement and executive director of the Missouri Western Foundation. “To know he was in the audience for the performance made it very moving.”
Dr. Robert Vartabedian, Missouri Western’s president, said that King, after seeing the show, is interested in using it as part of his tour of public schools in 2018, which marks the 50th anniversary of his father’s assassination.
Plans are also underway to perform the Walter Cronkite Memorial’s first live, multimedia performance, “Cronkite,” as part of a ceremony in Kansas City, Missouri to name a street in honor of Walter Cronkite. It will be performed in Topeka, Kansas, as well.