"It was what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, but also how he said it," Bluefield State College Title III/Brace Program Director Dr. Marvin Rogers noted during his recent speech at Southwest Virginia Community College.
"We know Dr. King because of his language, and because of the cadence, intonation, and inflection of his speech," Rogers told his audience at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon Series at SVCC.
"I will not say that Dr. King was a language master," Rogers continued, "but to hear his voice or read his words is to confirm beyond any doubt that he knew how to use the tool. If he had not known how to use language, we would not know him. We do not know him because he stopped to boost our car battery on a cold day. . .or because he co-signed a loan for us. . . .or because he bought us a drink somewhere. We know him because of his language."
Rogers said Dr. King spoke to both the poor and the monied classes, the illiterate and those who were scholars, royalty and common people. "He expressed his thoughts in large, easily understood 'canvases,'" the BSC administrator noted afterward. "He was a brilliant man, a thinker, conceptualizer, dreamer, motivator, and leader. He used the words of the English language with the precision of a skilled surgeon, with power, artistry, and oratorical capacity."
More than 150 Southwest Virginia Community College faculty, staff, students and residents of the region attended the ceremony.