University professor remembers King

Published 4:34 pm Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a man who had a great sense of humor, a great love for learning and a great love for food.

“I’m convinced he’s a man you all would have liked personally,” said University of Montevallo Professor Wilson Fallin Jr., guest speaker at the university’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Program on Wednesday. “He was a man who loved to eat … collard greens, yams and chitlins.”

The audience chuckled at Fallin’s remarks, but all joking aside, Fallin spoke sincerely of King, whom he met when he was a student at Atlanta’s Morehouse College.

Fallin often sat in on King’s social philosophy class at Morehouse, and he regularly attended services at historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King was co-pastor.

Fallin and King crossed paths once more at New Zion Baptist Church in Bessemer, where Fallin was pastor. King and members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference had traveled to New Zion to organize the Poor People’s Campaign – an economic justice initiative that was cut short by King’s 1968 assassination.

Fallin said if King were alive today, he would continue the fight against poverty.

“Despite the inauguration of Barack Obama, he would remind us that this is in no way the end of the civil rights movement,” Fallin said. “There’s too much poverty, too many uninsured, too many in jail, too many being oppressed in this nation.”

Fallin said King had dedicated himself to uplifting the poor in his last days of life. Fallin emphasized that King crusaded for economic justice for all, not just African-Americans.

King envisioned a world where all men are brothers and shared economic sufficiency, Fallin said.

At the speech’s end, Fallin called on audience members to eradicate poverty through service in their respective communities.

The program marked the conclusion of the university’s “Living the Dream Week,” which commemorated Monday’s King holiday and the inauguration of President Barack Obama.