A crowd gathered on the UT Austin campus Monday to honor the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Among the speakers – many of them leaders, elected and otherwise – was fourth-grader Bradon Owens, who won the 14th annual MLK Oratory Competition.
“He was a leader. He led many people to justice, equality and liberty. He did this by helping encourage non-violence and providing leadership," the Campbell Elementary student told the crowd gathered at the statue of King. "As individuals, you and I can both fix the world and make it a better place.”
UT Austin President Greg Fenves recalled when King spoke on campus in 1962. Though it was six years after the first black students were permitted to enroll in the university, segregation was still a fact of life on and around the campus. King called on students to bring that to an end.
“Students whose protests had brought integration to many of the businesses along the Drag started pressing for further progress at UT. They marched, they rallied, they spoke out," Fenves told the crowd. "And as time went on, sometimes too slowly, one by one the practices of subjugation that had defined our society started to wither.”
The rally was followed by the annual march to the campus of Huston-Tillotson University in East Austin.