LOCK HAVEN – As a young man growing up in Atlanta, Nathan McCall behaved in opposition to the principles Martin Luther King Jr. preached.
“For me, part of my disillusionment came when I looked across my neighborhood . . . I didn’t see much hope for a bright future,” McCall said to an audience gathered at Price Performance Center on Jan. 30.
McCall reflected on his early years during his keynote speech at Lock Haven University during the “Celebration of the Life and Legacy” of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event was held at main campus and broadcast to the Clearfield campus.
After committing crimes and serving time in jail, McCall transformed his life from criminal to scholar after he read the book Native Son by Richard Wright. Inspired by the book and further reading, he went to college, earned a degree in journalism and worked for multiple major newspapers, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Washington Post. Now a three-time author – one of his books was a New York Times bestseller – McCall thinks much differently now.
“Martin Luther King was effective because he mastered the principles that took me so long to learn,” McCall said.
McCall encouraged each member of the audience to become “the most intelligent, informed and articulate person you can be” and to understand that no one becomes successful on his/her own. We stand on the shoulders of American leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., who are role models for everyone, he said.
Before McCall’s speech, Meriam B. Harris Excellence Awards were given to Aly Taylor, LHU student; Dr. Dwayne Marshall, criminal justice associate professor; and Jim and Zonda Gregory of Domino’s Pizza. The awardees were honored for their commitment and leadership to diversity.
Natasha Dickey, a Jersey Shore Area High School student, shared her essay, “Dreams for the Future,” which earned a winning certificate in Jersey Shore’s MLK essay contest.