On January 15th, 2010, Dr. Joseph E. Lowery came to Auburn University to speak on his thoughts on “Inspiring The Strength to love”. I had the honor of introducing him, and at the end of the event he was honorarily inducted in the The Franklin Society.
The following are my prepared remarks as I introduced this lion of civil rights to speak on the plains:
Good evening ladies and gentlemen.
We are gathered here today, for the kick-off event of King Week, here at Auburn University. The theme for this series of events is “Inspiring the Strength to Love: One Auburn, One Community”.
In order to drive that point home, we have the distinct honor of hearing from a man who I dare say has more experience and gravitas, in inspiring the strength to love, than anyone else in this room here today.
He is a champion of civil rights, and has been a warrior in that great struggle since the early 1950’s, when he headed the Alabama Civic Affairs Association – the organization which led the movement to desegregate public accommodations and buses.
In his ongoing fight for civil liberty, he has even paid the price of being unjustly arrested on a number of occasions. He fought and won a precedent-setting Supreme Court Case, which has helped to guarantee free speech rights for all Americans.
Recently he had the high honor of giving the benediction at the inauguration of President Barack Obama, on January 20th, 2009. On August 12th of the same year he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the nation’s highest civilian honor, for his very, very many contributions.
As he comes to speak on his reflections on inspiring the strength to love, please join me in giving a warm, war-eagle applause as we welcome the one, the only, Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery!