This year’s North Central College’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast fell fittingly on the 60th anniversary of his visit to the campus. Hundreds of Naperville’s greater community gathered at the college’s science center, a fitting location for the keynote speaker.
Dr. Herman White Jr.
Dr. Herman White Jr., a recently retired Fermilab senior scientist, told the crowd about the time he met King at a graduation ceremony in Alabama.
“Reverend King’s message that day was focused on events in Alabama. He said and I quote ‘our state suffers not so much from the violence of bad people, but from the silence of good people’,” said Dr. White.
Dr. White, the first African-American to have a scientific equation in his name, went on to talk about the injustice black people faced during the 50’s and 60’s, like voting suppression.
Dr. White’s Message
A member of the North Central’s board of trustees, Dr. White said society has come a long way since that time, but still has a way to go.
“We’re surprised when someone says they don’t want to sit next to an African-American person at a restaurant, well practice on your own,” said White. “When you go into a restaurant or a meeting, sit next to someone who’s not in your culture.”
Dr. White’s speech earned him a standing ovation from the audience, which included Naperville city councilman Benny White, the city’s first councilman who’s a person of color.
He thanked Dr. White, and King for planting the seeds for his success.
“I’m so appreciative of Dr. King and other civil right leaders who set the stage and conditions for us to be where we are,” said Councilman White. “[We] understand that we have still have work to do. Long after I’m gone hopefully there’s a seed that’s been planted for someone else to come along and have manifest itself as well.”
Naperville News 17’s Christian Canizal reports.
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