MLK Tribute Breakfast – Mrs. Ella Harris Speech

MLK Tribute Breakfast – Mrs. Ella Harris Speech


Good morning, everyone.>>Good morning.>>And I’d like to just say,
why would Regina think that I was right.>>[LAUGH]
>>[INAUDIBLE] Well, indeed I am honored for this, and again,
say good morning to each of you. My mother,
Ella Elizabeth Tyson Harris is a graduate of 1963 of CNF High School in Greenwood. And a 1967 honors graduate of North
Carolina Central University in Durham. [COUGH] She graduated from
East Carolina University with a Masters of History Education in 1986 and Certification in Administration and
Supervision in 1988. She served the Greenville city and
county school system for 45 years as a classroom teacher,
assistant principal, summer school principal, and consultant,
having retired in June 2009. The Ella T Harris Lecture Hall at JH Holmes High School
was given in her honor. My mother, I called Mommy.>>[LAUGH]
>>Received the best honor and human relations award given by
the city of Greenville in 2005. And she was inducted into
the East Carolina University of Educators Hall of Fame in October 2010. She’s a member of Sycamore Hill Missionary
Baptist Church, and she’s a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority
Incorporated, since December 1964. And as a charter member of the Alpha
Kappa Beta Chapter here in Greenville, a founding member of that
since October of 1972 and the East Carolina Item foundation
as a founding member in 2012. In 2007, mommy was recognized by the Girl
Scouts Council of the Carolinas at its inaugural Women of Distinction Banquet. And since 2013, mommy has served
East Carolina University as a member of the College of Education Dean’s
Professional Advisory Board. She has been married to daddy.>>[LAUGH]
>>[LAUGH] Al Harris, for 49 and a half years, her high school sweetheart,
and I am her one and only daughter, Amber,
and I live in Raleigh. We, as a family, support senior citizens, ministries at Sycamore Hill,
and with the AK sorority, the association and CMS Heritage Society. And I said all that, but
ladies and gentleman, I want to break down a little bit further. My mother would want me to stay formal but
I’m gonna go a little bit deeper into it and
tell you a little bit more about my mom. My mother was from
the beginning this quiet, yet a powerful force, making an impact even in the smallest of things. Rejoicing and preferring fanfare
of others rather than herself. Mommy could often be found at her
cousin’s who was 91-92 years old who is currently on sixth street, in her house,
reminiscing about the days of old culture. Or at Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist
church quietly working on the projects. She’s a walking history book,
as some of you all know. A story teller and
a soprano voice made for opera. Even though my grandmother
passed away December 21st, 2000. My mother, Ella Elizatbeth Tyson Harris, continues the tradition of quarterly
meetings, where there is a spread for minimal amount of people that
come to celebrate the lord. There’ll be spreads and
spreads and spreads for 21 people, yet we prepare for a feast. Those are the small things,
the small things that matter that my mother is capable,
beyond capable of doing and managing. Paul’s Chapel, is a primitive
Baptist church that is located and nestled in the heart of [INAUDIBLE] which
is a stone’s throw away from Belle Arbor. So it shows you how deep
in the country that it is. My mother, Ella Elizabeth Tyson Harris
is a praying woman. And I’m a recipient of that. There are things I can tell you that
I know that she has done by praying. And I’m here to tell you
that I know that she did it. She’s a mentor, a confidant, a friend, a teacher, a wife, a sister, and a philanthropist in more
ways than monetary. Always paid in full, and I do mean always. Always and supporting others,
and never asking for herself. Often sometimes denying herself so
that others can have. We’re familiar with this verse,
a rare jewel, she is more precious than rubies and
all the things thou canst desire,
are not to be compared unto her. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I will present my mother, mommy,
Ella Elizabeth Tyson Harrison. She will be the next
voice that you will hear. [APPLAUSE]>>Let me tell you all, before we get started. [LAUGH] About mommy, is that how we can see it? Our mother Mrs. Anne Harrison Tyson and you’re going to hear about
it some more from me. My mother lived to be a hundred years old and
she passed away in 2000. But I think Amber, we couldn’t decide, I called her momma and Elton,
my husband called her mom. And so Amber say well,
I’ll call mom mom and I’ll call you mommy.>>[LAUGH]
>>So even as Amber got older It was time for her to maybe start
calling me something else.>>[LAUGH]
>>She just kept calling me mommy.>>[LAUGH]
>>And so my mother lived just a long and
just a wonderful life. And my mother was a mom
to all three of us. And I think mommy and daddy,
as far as Amber is concerned, she just calls us mommy and
daddy as a name.>>[LAUGH]
>>Because certainly my mother, the late Mrs Anne Harris Tyson,
was a mother. And I think Elton and
I are like her brother and sister.>>[LAUGH]
>>So, mommy is really her sister.>>[LAUGH]
>>Thank you so much. I am honored and overwhelmed this morning. And joyful and
everything else that goes along with it and I blame that to my scripture. I am a child all the world waits for
my tongue. All the earth watches with interest
to see what I shall become. Civilization hangs in the balance. For what I am,
the world of tomorrow will be. I am a child. I’ve come to your world. About which I know nothing. Why I came, I know not. How I came, I know not. I am curious. I am interested. I am a child. You hold in your hand my
destiny [COUGH] you determine largely whether I shall succeed or fail, give me my friend those things
which makes for happiness. Train me I beg you that I may
be a blessing to the world. And so today, on the occasion of the Pitt
Community College Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Breakfast, we are here
to honor the memory of the late Dr. Martin Luther King,
as we in 2018 keep the dream alive. And we are here to honor
one among us who has given exemplary service to this
Pitt Community College community. This gentlemen, Mr. Raymond Reddrick, has been and
continues to be the epitome of community. Involvement and education leadership. He has indeed been an inspiration to me through the years. We had launched meant to
the board of trustees. The Pitt Community College Foundation, PCC alumni of which my husband
is an alumnus two times, the faculty say and friends, we acknowledge the elected officials,
city council and state. We appreciate the introductory
remarks from our own Amber. Thank you Amber. And we are here to honor the request
of the Multicultural Committee Chair, Mr. Geno Garcia, for
the invitation to come and to share. The hope of the nation as we
work to make the dream of one great man continue
to come to fruition. I am a child. All the world waits for my coming. I, Ella Elizabeth Tyson Harris,
was born in 1945. And within days of my birth, I was given with love to Nan Harris and
Square Riley Tyson, a couple who had each just
become 45 years of age. It was daddy’s wish to get the new baby. My momma was thin and
until she passed away at the age of 100, all into her church. [COUGH]
>>And the [INAUDIBLE] were primitive
Baptists Association. She was into attending the church and
feeding the church people. And praise the lord. And so Daddy would become the babysitter. I was a daddy’s girl. I was born in July of 1945. All of my life, I heard
the beautiful story of my adoption. Unlike a lot of young people
who may have been given to a family member or
somebody kept the baby, or whatever, I was legally adopted I
have the papers to show it. I knew, my mother knew before I was
born that she could not keep me and they searched for
just the right couple to raise or to have this baby,
to take this baby and raisea me. And my biological grandmother,
from when I was two, said to my parents,
I really want you to educate this baby. We lived at 704 Douglas Avenue,
a house that mommy and daddy had moved into during
the big snow of 1927, does it sound like something
we just went through?>>[LAUGH]
>>I heard it all my life, momma talking about it. The big snow and Jacob trying to put up
the stove, to get some heat in the house. They had originally lived out near
the Voice of America Site C and they had just gotten the house and we own
that house today our mother left it to us. Next door lived Georgiana Rodgers and
her name is Georgie, and Captain Walter Rogers. And two doors down lived Mrs. Autumn
Leary, and across the street lived Mrs. Laura Brown. And across the path lived Mrs.
May Bolden and Mrs. May Hopkins. And on the corner lived Ms.
Liddy Church and on the other corner lived Mrs.
C.K Marshall. She had flowers everywhere.>>[LAUGH]
>>Along the fence, around the utility pole. On the front porch and the back porch.>>[LAUGH]
>>Everywhere, and then on the corner, lived old man John Vines whose
daughter had been a dear friend, a childhood friend, and
a playmate of my parent’s daughter Irene. Unfortunately, Irene had passed
away at the age of 13 in 1931. And so now it’s 1945, and
there’s an opportunity to get this baby. But my mother was afraid. She had lost that child, and that she was not a feeling she
ever wanted to have again. But my daddy said we
gonna deliver this baby. [INAUDIBLE]
And around the corner, there’s my cousin Elsie, Uncle Jack,
and my cousin Stanley and little Jack. And Aunt Bertha my momma’s baby sister, and her husband had a truck. And he never let me ride
in the back of the truck because he said it was too dangerous. And we went to some primitive
Baptist church every Sunday and some Saturdays when it
was quarterly meeting. And in the summer we canned vegetables and
put some peaches and pick blueberries too. We spread dinner at church
every three months and had people come to our house the first
Sunday in January, in April, then July. And April, and July and
January, that’s right. And so many people spent the night. On the third weekend in October,
during the association, that we had the same old not always so
bad. And momma worked in service
to several distinguished and prominent families in this community. And at tobacco company one of
those buildings is still there, that was my daddy’s factory. My momma said I wish your
daddy did have a factory.>>[LAUGH]
>>Life was very safe and secure and I was loved and nurtured. We were poor by most standards. But I didn’t know it, and
I would think mom and daddy [INAUDIBLE]. And I blossomed and I bloomed. I attended Fleming Street School
around the corner from my house from grades one through four. They didn’t have. Ms. you heard her name. The school’s principal was
not whole grade teacher. But school was a two story brick building
with high ceilings and huge windows, the office was on the first floor and
the auditorium was on the second floor. Now the office was on the first floor
next door to Miss Salvator’s room and the auditorium was on the second
floor and we had school assemblies and operas and movie hour and that’s
where we saw the little all the time. They went out playing. At least the fashion shows and
Halloween carnivals, and to help them. We would play and play and
play and run and run and run on the schoolyard during recess. And you better not go back into the school
because Miss Salter will get you with that switch.>>[LAUGH]
>>And she said to us, you just better come
on by me because you running up and down those halls and
you can stand right here. And when you came past her that switch.>>[LAUGH]
>>But I was very safe and very secure, and very [INAUDIBLE]. That highlight of the storm meter at
Freemans Street, was the annual Mayday. And that was the school fundraiser
just like when they had to them we would crown the queen and
honor her court. All the classes have special presentation
and we wore beautiful costumes. I was a square dancer one year and
was purple I remember. And one year in first grade I was
a today I still have that picture.>>[LAUGH]
>>And one year, I was in a waltz. My class was in a waltz, there was always one special class
that would wrap the maypole. They knew exactly what to do. If you’ve ever seen that,
it’s just beautiful. I was a member of a rounding scout troop. Which traveled to Washington DC
in the spring of 1953. And we sang all the way
to Washington DC and all the way back home,
How Much is that Doggie in the Window.>>[LAUGH]
>>We visited the Washington Zoo and had the opportunity to go to
the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. And then it was on to CMS,
grades 5 thru 12. We knew everybody, I think I wanna
just throw this in, we knew everybody, that’s why sometimes we
would see a message. All these reunions are so successful. People wondered how in the world we could
have a reunion and it’s so successful. Because we knew each other. We were together from
grades one through four and then we were together from grades five
through 12th, you knew everybody. Our schools, at that time,
were not integrated. Students all over town walked
to West Fifth Street to the West Fifth Street site from downtown
on Reed Street or Reed Circle and First Street and Seventh Street. And from Newtown, which is near
the ghettos and [INAUDIBLE] lumber company now, and from over the hill, near the
English chapel, Free Will Baptist Church, which is Dead Street, they walked
all the way to see him [INAUDIBLE]. It was a wonderful mix. The students from
Meadowbrook across the river where the only ones who
came by school bus. Our teachers knew our family,
the principle lead in the power and
punishment if we we’re disrespectful. At Plymouth street school as I told
you some of them had a switch. [INAUDIBLE] our principles [INAUDIBLE]
he ruled with an iron hand. We referred to him as death. He would [INAUDIBLE] few absentees,
no fights on campus. No fights on campus. No pregnant teens. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody
pregnant at school in all those years. He would know all about the community and
I tell you if you did something in the community he
would reprimand you at school.>>[LAUGH]
>>Mr. Devonport made it his business
to know all about us. Young men wore suits and ties by
the time we got to the eighth grade, there’s not really any more suits and
ties. And the girls wore sweaters, and pearl
necklaces and those kinds of things, and skirts, and dresses and the girls in
the upper grades wore high-heeled shoes. And we just thought we were the best. But can you see yourself as a role model
for the little girls in the fifth grade. They had somebody to look up to. Mine was a very safe, and a very secure,
and a very loving environment Atkins, we traveled with
our choir to Raleigh and Jerome and Fayetteville and
Robersonville, Judy [LAUGH].>>[LAUGH]
>>And to the Rotary Club over in ECU, even though we were in
a segregated society. Our choir from time to time
would go to different churches in the white community and sing. We participated in talent hunts and
health fairs, and met students from all the surrounding
counties as we participated in the North Carolina Joint Council
on Health and Citizenship, sponsored by our local physician,
Dr. Andrew A Best. We were so excited to see the presidential
candidate, John F Kennedy, when he visited Pitt County on Saturday,
September 17th, 1960. We were down on the corner. I was down on the corner of Fifth and
Green, Fifth and Green waiting for the motorcade. That’s down where
Pugh’s Service Station was. And now a big highrise is.>>[LAUGH]
>>Waiting for the motorcade who had just passed
the CMS band and the congregation of the Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist
Church down at First and Green, just coming across the bridge, there was
only one bridge at that time, remember? Okay, we had witnessed
our friend Laura Leery integrate East Carolina University
in 1962. And we had language arrest our
beloved football coach, Percy Daniels. And won football game with
a pro high standard in his memory down in Mission City. We were playing P.W.
Moore, and the score was seven to six. This happened when I sent you here. And my husband, of course,
was on that football team.>>[LAUGH]
>>We had attended a news summit on
the campus of North Carolina State. Things were changing
in the spring of 1963. And my graduation was on May 31st. With high expectations,
college was for me. Even back in the day,
our community found scholarships to push us forward, scholarships and grants. Those who mentored us and
encouraged us, the faculty, the staff, the superintendent of schools
at that time, Mr. Julius H Rose. I knew Mr. Julius H Rose. My mother knew Mr. Julius H Rose. We’d talk about those pickles. But every now and then my mama
would take a jar to Mr. JH Rose. That’s what she’d do. And he knew us. And he had connections, and
he used those connections to assist us and our school, those people who
wanted to go to college could go. That’s why I was so
honored to work at JH Rose. I’m honored to work there,
it’s an honor for me cuz I knew Mr. Rose, and I knew what he did and
what he had done in the community. Dr. Eden Eckhart, our family doctor, was Chairman of the Board of Education. [INAUDIBLE] And Mr.
John [INAUDIBLE] was on the school board. Mr. and the 20th Century Club acted
as athletic boosters to our teens. And the Ten Plus Three Club
sponsored scholarships. That was before Delta Sigma Theta
was chartered in Greenville or Alpha Kappa Alpha was
chartered in Greenville. The Ten Plus Three Club was here. All the world waits with interest
to see what I shall become. Education was the key to those hopes and
dreams. Education, higher education,
past the secondary, education would get you to the next level. It would open doors and new opportunities
yet unseen, if that were your choice. And of course, it was my choice. North Carolina College in Durham, in the
fall of 1963, was going to be my choice. But the world was beginning to change. On August the 28th, 1963, just prior to my going away to college
the next Monday, a man by the name of Dr. Martin Luther King was on the television
with his famous I Have A Dream speech. I saw that as I ironed clothes and
packed my trunk, getting ready to go. Things were changing. What did I gain all those years
in Greenville, North Carolina? I had a loving and
supportive family, the family. I had strong community ties,
the community. I had an unfaltering belief in
a higher power, the church. And there were high expectations in an
atmosphere of academic excellence at CMS. But the world was changing. We would encounter a changing event, and things have never been the same since,
for me perhaps. Somewhere between 1 o’clock and
2 o’clock in the afternoon on November 22, 1963,
the world got the news. Judy remembers,
we were at North Carolina Central. The assassination of
John Fitzgerald Kennedy in Dallas, Texas. And the world stood still for four days. And, back in the day,
we didn’t have a television. We just have a TV in the day
room at the dormitory. And we crowded around, looking. I just can’t even tell you. But, we think about this, opportunities
at North Carolina Central were great. We get past this and
go to the next things. They were great, we did so many things. Two things that I wanted to highlight
here was Dean Nacom’s idea of women. We’d bring famous women to our campus. Role model women to inspire us,
to our campus every spring. And we would see these women. And among them was Dr.
Darla Bolling Berry. Who had been a part of the Mississippi
Health Project, back in the 30s, down in Mississippi. Had traveled there, and had been able to reach some of those women
who had been neglected North Carolina. I’ll never forget her, because I saw her
as the student at North Carolina Central. I would see her again in 1978 at the Alpha
Kappa House at Blue Ray in Houston, Texas. Again, opportunities to lead to be
inspired by, to be encouraged by. Another thing, I was a part of the North
Carolina Central University choir. It was out of North Carolina College
choir, and we sang everywhere. All over the state of North Carolina and
in Richmond, Virginia and Washington DC and Morristown, New Jersey. These are just cities that
I know I wouldn’t look. And on Easter Sunday of 1964, we were in the Easter Parade on
5th Avenue in New York city. These are the kinds of opportunities
that came because I was in this other environment taken to another level. And I graduated from
North Carolina Central, and the world was changing as I see it. Coming back home, a beginning teacher
My very first year, April 4, 1968. I was in Raleigh, North Carolina
attending a teacher’s conference. Helen and Israel were there too, I’m sure. , I know they was there. [LAUGH].
And we got the news that Dr. Martin Luther King had been killed. Boy, chaos erupted. You know that, everybody knows that. And we would have to come back home and end our conference there to go later
to convene at another location. And during those early
years of my teaching, we were in one movement after another. The civil rights movement,
the black power movement, the hippie movement, the Vietnam war time, bring the boys home,
the [INAUDIBLE] movement. But I had chosen teaching as a career. To lead, to challenge, to use those teachable
moments like Jamie Smith had used. Jamie Smith, my ninth and
tenth grade math teacher. Never forget him. He was just as tough as they come. But you know what he’d do? Every now and then he would sit
on the corner of that desk and talk to us about life. And about how he wanted us to be. And then you couldn’t keep him off the
subject too long, cuz he’d get on back and throw that math at you. But I’d never forget it. My job was to motivate,
to lead, to guide, to use those teachable moments to move my students
to a higher level, to a higher plane. Education most certainly was the key. And I always talk about
getting across the stage. The beauty of I think
working at a high school because that’s something
you can say all day up and down every hallway when somebody’s out
there in the hall fighting or fussing. Look, girl are you going across the stage? Girl, I thought you was going
across the stage in June. Girl, ain’t you going across the stage?>>[LAUGH]
>>And this is what you say. You can’t say a lot cuz you’re working
in a school that has 1,400 kids or 1,500 kids. And you’re trying to motivate them. And people had told me that
when I walked down the hall, it was like parting the red sea. Everybody would move over.>>[LAUGH]
>>Perhaps, they did. But look, they didn’t even know I
couldn’t run or do none of this.>>[LAUGH]
>>You know, if that’s what you think, okay, part the Red Sea and let me through.>>[LAUGH]
>>The point is, getting across the stage. You know I’m gonna say whatever
I need to say to help that out. Just as it had been for
me, I would do for others. I would be a model of excellence for
my students. I would have high expectations. And it will be in a safe and
orderly environment. But, the world has changed. That great society that came on
back during the Johnson era, if you remember that. You know, it’s your thing,
do what you want to do.>>[LAUGH]
>>What?>>[LAUGH]
>>My gracious!>>[LAUGH]
>>Dear father.>>[LAUGH] You know, faint, faint. Whatever it is I need to do, but we found out that there
is now a cycle of poverty and drugs and those kinds of things
have seeped into America. And even into small towns like
Greenville and into rural areas and they [INAUDIBLE] to addicted mothers and
fathers. And children are labeled like latchkey. Now listen, when I was a little girl,
you were poor but I didn’t know it. Now, unfortunately, these are sociological
terms we are labeling our children. We have to be careful, because when
we label them they act out and what they do, it becomes what is
called a self fulfilling prophecy. If you label me, you say I’m this,
that, or the other, I’m going to prove it to you and so we have to be very
careful and herein lies the challenge. And Amber said to me, Mommy,
what are you talking about? What is the title of what
you’re talking about? I am a child. Although the world waits for my coming,
civilization hangs at the balance, for what I am, the world tomorrow will be. But there’s a challenge on us,
as we keep the dream alive. [INAUDIBLE] keeping the dream alive. And recognizing
the challenges that we face. Our graduates have witnessed
the world in their time, where children are not
really children anymore. These children are thrust into
an adult world all too soon. There’s child abuse and
child neglect, incarceration. Single parent. Now we’re talking this year
about human trafficking. I tell you. But herein lies our challenge. We have to go back to basics. We have to go back to that old world
that I lived in, way back 50 some years. And by the way I am going
to say I am a graduate of North Carolina Central University. 50 years ago. We just celebrated our 50th
class reunion on October 28th. There were 116 of us who went back. And gave back. I’ll tell you, they asked for
money every minute of the day.>>[LAUGH]
>>Our president, Isaiah Tidwell, a former banker.>>[LAUGH]
>>I’ve asked him for money every time I come around. We were getting some pieces of him. Then the way we celebrated. I tell you. And quote,
all you have to do is get back to basics. We have to stimulate and engage our
children at good academic programs. And I believe that we’re doing that. We have to say to them, you can do this. You can do this. There has to be no nonsense, and
there has to be power structure. And Amber knows that I say to her,
do you have, I know you have this gadget in your hand. [LAUGH] You got this great big
new Apple whatever this thing is. [LAUGH] It’s a gadget and
we put everything in it but do you know what we need? We need a notebook,
you got to write something down. And you put it down and
you check it off and you can see it, I’m talking about now. But what do I say, I have a planner and
it has the days of the week. It’s not on my hand,
I don’t have to click anything.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>I know, what I have to do. I know what I have to do on January 11th,
and I know what I have to on January 31st, and
I’m looking at all of this spending time. That’s a challenge. To this newfangled generation types.>>[LAUGH]
>>We have to keep the children on task. We have to bring them back in. Bring ourselves Back to basics. We have to model what we want them to do. And we have to model
what we want them to be. We’re going to lead by example. We’re not gonna give them a lot of time,
but we’re going to structure their time. You know that idle mind
is the devil’s workshop? That’s true. So they’re not gonna give them a lot
of frills out there, a lot of time. We’re gonna bring them in,
structure, structure their time. We’re going to mentor, we’re going
to mold, we’re going to make them. We’re going to give them some money, just
like we’re doing today, in the form of scholarships and work study and grants so
that they too can reach that next level. So that they too can move to a new
world and reach an impossible dream. We have to teach them to surround
themselves with positivity. They say this is
the beginning of a new year. You have to let some of that old go and pick up with those people who
are moving forward with you. We have to encourage
them to have quiet time. You just can’t be doing something
every minute of the day. You have to be practicing hard. When we have family reunions,
talk about your family, about their legacy in your family. Now look, all of us have some things in
our family that we don’t wanna talk about. But you know what? We probably need to talk about it. Because if we put it on the table and
we give us an opportunity to get past it, that’s one of the problems. We don’t talk about it and
so we can’t get past it. The beauty, I think, of my birth and of my life is that I always
knew who I was and who I am. I know who I am. Almost that is,
my biological father and mother. I have been blessed to teach
my sisters and brothers. Can you believe that? They were right there in
the classroom with me, hearing me tell the story of how
I was adopted when they were not. But they heard me, I said it. I said it so they wouldn’t tell me,
or somebody else walk up to me and tell me who I am. Because I know who I am. You see what I’m saying? That’s what we have to
do with our children. We have to make time for our children. And I’m almost finished. Amber said to me last night as we talked,
I said, one of the happiest times of my life, and this is a memory that
I have, even at 72 years of age. Every now and then I’ll go back and
remember myself. I was in the middle and momma and
daddy were on either side of me. And we had been to a neighbor’s house all
on Sunday night that said because my daddy was a year round man. He was all time person there. But every now and then he’d walk
down to the neighbor’s house. Then it would get dark and he’d come back. And the street light would be on, and
the shadow, and I was in the middle. But when we walked and I had hand in hand,
I was just as tall as mom and dad. I remember that. That is something that
I will never forget. That’s what we have to give back
to our children, I tell you. Intentionality, that’s a word,
that’s a little word. We have to intend to do it and do it. I mean for you to do this, I intend for
you to do this, that’s a word. I’ve got this book that I’m reading,
whole portions of. Given some quality time, it says train up
a child in the way that he should know. And when he is older, he will not depart. Now the point of that is he may stray
from it, but he’ll come back to it. And this is what we need to
remember with our children. And as we are closing this, we want
you to give to Pitt Community College. And then they say that there’s things
in our family that we do as a family. We champion certain levels of giving
in certain organizations that we are a part of. Of course, in our church. Of course, I pulled them from everybody. East Carolina University has been
very good to me, very good to me. A man by the name of Dr. Hugh Weeks took me from one program at the undergraduate
level and said, you know what? I think you might do well over
here at the graduate program. Let’s see how you function over here. Because I was a French major. Can’t speak a word of it now.>>[LAUGH]
>>Learned it well, did very well in it,
don’t know a word now.>>[LAUGH]
>>Probably could read it, but speak it no more. But I came at a time when
the schools were integrating. Amber was born in the fall of 69,
and I was not there. And they asked me to come back and
to teach black history. Teach black history? You know what? I never liked history. I never liked it, and now I love it. I love history, not just black history. Because I put it all together and
I can look at it. The point is, I went back to
[INAUDIBLE] for half a day, for half a year and it’s true,
it opened up more opportunities for me. And so
then I had to get the certification. And you can be qualified,
but not certified. So you had to be certified. So I had to do that, so I had to
start working on that certification. And in working on it, Dr.
Hugh Weeks said, we’ll talk, and let’s see if we can invite
you to the graduate program. Not just the undergraduate program,
but the graduate program. And I went on in there and
did real good, too. I like learning, it’s good for me. But the point is it’s
an educational opportunity. I worked in the school system. I taught all kinds of
social studies classes. I met so many different children, not just children who would take French
who might have been college bound. But in social studies,
all of the children in there. And so you get a chance to
motivate them and mold them. And have those teachable moments and
sit on the edge of that desk and talk sometimes. Again, Be proud of who you are. Surround yourself with positivity. Have that quiet and yes,
give back just as we are doing today, the Pitt Community College Foundation,
what does it say? Make a donation to
the Pitt Community College->>[APPLAUSE]>>Walt Disney said we can make dreams come true.>>[LAUGH]
>>And then there’s Jasmine’s fight.>>[LAUGH]
>>He’d been honored by his own for everything that he’s doing. And then the advance person, Mrs. [INAUDIBLE],
and she says escape you. So Lord know they want you
to reinvent the wheel.>>[LAUGH]
>>That’s what we want you to think.>>[LAUGH]>>Those colleges come in from everything. We want to carry on the legacy,
and we want to pass on the torch. And on this, the occasion of
the 2018 Martin Luther King celebration at Pitt Community College, we’re just honored to be here and
honored to have come to share. And all I can say is,
now there’s everybody saying, what is it? Pay it forward. Pass the pen.>>[LAUGH]
>>Thank you all so much.>>[APPLAUSE]

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