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While working at a Memphis television station in 1968, this Tiger became a part of history. The world’s eyes turned to the Bluff City as it learned that civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated. He was there amid the disbelief, anger and chaos and had a hand in the news coverage that followed.
He’s done a lot since then and his role at Clemson is vastly different. Still, Black History Month holds special meaning. It’s during this time of year that he remembers – the facts are still fresh in his mind. While we’ve moved forward since then, we still have much more to do.
Title: Assistant to the vice president for Public Service and Agriculture (PSA)
Years at Clemson: 22
What I do at Clemson: I raise funding for PSA, I am responsible for the PSA football suite, research in bioresins and work at the discretion of the vice president for PSA.
What I love about Clemson: The family atmosphere, the sea of orange on football game days and the wonderful support I get from the people who work with me directly.
My defining moment at Clemson: When I was recruited to work in PSA and the wonderful people I worked with. When I came up with the idea for biogradable bioresin formula that functioned like plastic. This led to a patent and the formulation of a startup company. USA Today did a feature story about me and the resins, in addition, there were several industry magazines, radio and television coverages about the resins and the development.
Accomplishment I’m most proud of: The resins I formulated have made the environment somewhat better. In a small way, I impacted the entire earth and not many people can say that.
Where I see myself in five years: Retired, however, still active in something!
Last thing I watched on TV: News and current events.
One thing most people don’t know about me: I was working for ABC Television and WHBQ, a Memphis-based radio station when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. At that time, I was living in Memphis where I had recently moved from Batesville, Mississippi. Times were turbulent during the Civil Rights era. The Ku Klux Klan and the Black Panthers were active in the area. There was a deep racial divide resulting in a lot of mistrust between whites and African Americans.
We were very upset to hear of King’s assassination, but as professionals, we had to report the facts. We all did our job to the best of our ability. King’s death did not eliminate the Civil Rights Movement. In truth, King’s death only made it stronger.
As Black History Month comes each year and I think of Dr. King, I am brought back to that horrible time. As time passed, we have grown and changed. We continue to move toward the goal of accepting people for who they are and not the color of their skin. While we have made some gains, there is much more to be done.
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