Just a little two hours ago the annual 37th annual Joe Creason Lecture took place in the Worsham theatre inside the student center of the University of Kentucky. The lecture was just a little over an hour as Mervin R. Aubespin was the main speaker, he spoke for less than hour. Mr. Aubespin is a member of the National Association of Black Journalist Hall of Fame and Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame. In 2010 he would receive the Mayor’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Award and he has an award named after him as well. He told the audience about his 35 years in journalism, the people he met along the way and what he had learned. He shared his life with the students and faculty in the audience.
He spoke with a voice of a radio host, very soothing. His stories were magnificent as you see, Mr. Aubespin lived in different time than I did, Mervin was born in the 1930s when racism was still very much alive. I shall begin to tell you what he shared with the audience earlier tonight.
He shared how he grew up and shared how times were different. As he grew up when racism was still much alive around the times when Martin Luther King was making his speeches in the late 1940s and 1950s. His first journalism job was working for The Courier-Journal in 1967 as a news atrist, a paper in Louisville, Ky. When he interviewed for the job, he wouldn’t leave until they gave him a chance. So they did for a couple of weeks and then quickly hired him. He became the first African American to hold the position at the newspaper. He urged his audience to prescient when it comes to something they want. He would become a news reporter and report when racial violence would break out.
Then quickly he fast forwarded to when he attended church where Martin Luther King Jr. was the pastor, he learned a lot from him during his college years and they became personal good friends. Before joining the staff at The Courier-Journal in the 1950s and 1960s he would work with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others on many civil rights issues happening in the south. Including the bus Boycott in Montgomery, Alabama. He would also become good friends with Muhammad Ali and Nelson Mandela. He shared, that just being in these peoples presence, “would make my hair on the back of my neck stand up.” As Mr. Aubespin knew that every time he would talk to these people, would be a time to learn. To listen closely to what they say.
He ended his speech asking the students in the audience, “if something was to happen to you tomorrow, will the world know? Have you helped someone read? helped an old lady with groceries? I challenge you (students) that the world to know when you pass.” Mr. Aubespin wants the students to live successful lives like he has. He is challenging the students to make the best of their lives, to make sure people remember you. To make sure the students live their lives full of passion and listen to those who can offer good advice, like the people he met along the way. Because you see as one travels down the journalism path, chances are one will meet an inspiring famous person who can offer good advice for one. When one does, its a good chance their hair stands on the back of their neck just like Mr. Aubespin, one just may be unaware.