“Martin Luther King observed that America has written African-Americans a bad check, but he insisted that we have a right to cash that check, to take advantage of the great opportunity of this nation.” So spoke retired Rochester City Court Judge Roy Wheatley King during his keynote address, “Realizing the Dream” in celebration of Martin Luther King Week at the Colleges.
On the occasion of the Jan. 18 event, Judge King was introduced by his son, faculty member Rodmon King and by Colleges’ President Mark D. Gearan.
“We must take what God has endowed us with and use it in a positive way,” said Judge King, who laid out a practical plan for “moving from inspiration to action.”
“How do we perfect Martin Luther King’s dream?” he asked. “First, we must have an understanding of our past history; second, an awareness of the problems we face; and third we must develop a sound solution for those problems.”
King, a lecturer at SUNY Brockport, Keuka College and Roberts Wesleyan College, also placed an emphasis on the importance of higher education. “We as a people will not be able to appropriate what is ours without reading, writing and arithmetic: the acquisition of entrepreneurial skills and higher education.”
Born in 1936 on Cat Island in the Bahamas to a seamstress and a carpenter, King moved to Brooklyn with his mother and three sisters the day after he graduated from St. John's, an Episcopal high school.
He eventually made his way upstate and to Syracuse University Law School – by way of a two-year stint with the U.S. Army and a bachelor's degree from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. He led a long and distinguished career in the Rochester Court System.
The talk is part of a week-long series of events in celebration of Martin Luther King’s life and legacy. A complete schedule can be found on the Intercultural Affairs Web site.