Story by Jennifer Bacchus on 01/24/2019ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- Dr. Billy Hawkins spoke at Anniston Army Depot's Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Breakfast.
Hawkins, the president of Talladega College, brought several members of the school's Ensemble Choir with him for a performance of gospel songs.
As Hawkins took the podium, he highlighted some of the college's recent accomplishments and its tie to King, a meeting in 1957 when King met Andrew Young, who would become the mayor of Atlanta and Ambassador to the United Nations.
Hawkins highlighted King's "I Have a Dream" speech, which was presented Aug. 28, 1963, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., during the March on Washington.
"He was a man who only wanted equal justice for all mankind," Hawkins said of King. "A man who wanted an America that was fair to all."
In King's speech, he named Alabama among the states he hoped would come to achieve racial equality.
"I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers," said King.
Hawkins, citing that quote, asked the crowd gathered for breakfast, "Has that part of his dream been fulfilled here in the state of Alabama?"
"My response to that is that I believe Dr. Martin Luther King's dream is still a dream in progress in this country and in the state of Alabama," said Hawkins.
He said much has been done along the path to racial equality, but there is still work to be done and challenged the crowd to continue working toward King's dream.
Hawkins reminded them that love and respect begin in the home. In homes where love and respect are shown, they flourish. In homes where fear and hatred rein, those emotions are passed along.
He challenged everyone to be a leader and show others the true meaning of race relations and equality for all people.
Hawkins said each time we are presented with a situation of racial inequality can be a teaching moment to impart respect to others.
ANAD Commander Col. Joel Warhurst stressed the similarities between King's vision and the Army values during his comments at the close of the event.
"It is clear Dr. King set a vision far greater than where we were at the time," said Warhurst.
Naming the Army's core values - loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage - he shared how living by them makes each person and installation stronger, as does having a diverse organization.