Young speakers chosen for oratorical events
Published: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 2:49 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 2:49 p.m.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Florida Inc. will pay tribute to the 50th anniversary of the famous "I Have A Dream" speech by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by featuring two young speakers at three King Celebration 2013 events.
King delivered the speech on Aug. 28, 1963, during the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom" in the nation's capital.
Antione Turner, 11, and Lamont Wallace, 14, will deliver parts of the speech at the "Remembering Martin" program at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Ignite Life Center at 404 NW 14th Ave.; the 4th annual Youth Talent Extravaganza to be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 18 at the King Center at 1028 NE 14th St., and the National Holiday Kick-Off Program at noon Jan. 21 at the Bo Diddley Downtown Community Plaza.
Rodney Long, president and founder of the King Commission, said the commission decided to include middle school and high school orators as part of King Celebration activities this year to pay tribute to the 50th anniversary of King delivering the 17-minute speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in front of more than 200,000 people.
"Our theme this year is, ‘I Have a Dream — The Speech: 50 Years Later,' and we thought it would be appropriate to have young people from the community deliver the speech at several of our events this year," Long said.
The speakers were chosen by Cynthia Mingo, an honorary member of the commission, and Angela Terrell, the keyboards/violin instructor at Duval Elementary Fine Arts Academy.
Mingo said she chose Antione, a sixth-grader at Caring & Sharing Learning School in southeast Gainesville, because he is a veteran at speaking in public and takes it very seriously. Terrell said she chose Lamont, a freshman at Gainesville High School, because he is a gifted orator, who also excels in drama with the Star Center Children's Theatre.
Antione, son of Remather Berry of Gainesville, said he has been speaking in public since he was 8 years old. He said his first time speaking in public was at the Ebony Appreciation Awards Banquet in 2010, when he recited the poem, "My King."
Antione has been a member of the Flossie B. McLendon Drill Team since 7 years old, is active with the Star Center Children's Theatre and loves playing musical instruments, especially the bells. He wants to become a professional musician.
Antione, a member of Johnson Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, said he loves speaking in public because he gets to express himself and present himself to the public. He said the thing he likes the most about the "I Have A Dream" speech is the message of "hope, peace and unity" it delivers. He said his favorite part of the speech is when King talks about freedom ringing from various places.
Berry, of Gainesville, said she is extremely proud of her son.
"His anointing overwhelms me and he works so hard at what he does and he enjoys what he does," Berry said.
Lamont, son of Lee and Delorise Wallace of Gainesville, said he has been involved with the Star Center Children's Theatre for one year. He loves performing and speaking in public because of the response he receives from the audience.
"People are astounded when they see a young African American speaking well and pronouncing and projecting to the audience," Lamont said.
Lamont said the thing he likes the most about the "I Have A Dream" speech is how King "projected out to the audience and made his statements clear."
He said his favorite part of the speech is when King said "I've been to the mountain top." He said he likes that part because "to me it seems like he sees the future for everybody and he knows a time is going to come when everything is going to change. He was trying to get all of his soldiers and troops prepared because he knew he wasn't going to be there."
Lamont, a member of Springhill Baptist Church who sings tenor in the choir, said in addition to speaking in public, he likes playing football and wants to be a professional football player or marine biologist.
Lee Wallace said he and his family are very proud of Lamont.
"He has an outgoing personality and he doesn't get too big headed," said Lee Wallace, adding that he used to let Lamont speak into the microphone when he took him to work with him while working as a DJ at various radio stations around the country. Lee Wallace said he and his family lived in Kansas City, Mo., and Greensboro, N.C., before he moved to Gainesville in 2003 to take care of his ailing mother. His family moved to town in 2004.
"We are extremely proud of him," said Lee Wallace.