Niagara Gazette

Local News

January 22, 2014

Niagara University in midst of Martin Luther King Jr. remembrance week activities

Niagara University in midst of Martin Luther King Jr. remembrance week

Niagara Gazette — Sharaud Moore knows what it’s going to take to see an end to racial inequality in the United States and beyond. He knows the fight is not even close to being complete.

He brought his message to the students and faculty — and anyone else willing to listen — at Niagara University on Monday in the keynote address of the Lewiston campus’s the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. remembrance week. His message was one he meant to drive home early and often.

“We can’t be complacent,” he said before taking the podium. “Equality requires constant maintenance. And these are the people to do it, the high school and university kids.”

Moore isn’t particularly famous, but he is worth a listen. His story is one of triumph though, for a long time, he said, it didn’t appear to be. It’s also a microcosm of how change can sometimes be glacial in pace but monumental in affect, a scaled down representation of the human rights movement.

Approaching 40 years old, Moore tested at a genius level at third grade, growing up in one of the poorest school districts in the country in California. He endured bullying when his mother opted to send him across the city to a more affluent elementary school. Not just from the students, though. He said the staff — teachers and principals alike — made it clear he was unwelcome.

“The only things black on that campus was me and the tires in the parking lot,” he told the crowd of about 125 people Monday. “Even the parking lot was gray. It somehow avoided being black.”

The negative experiences at such an early, formative age dulled his sense of responsibility to himself. He still went to school, but hardly ever applied himself. Eventually he fell in with the wrong crowd and joined a gang. He was even expelled from one of his high schools for bringing a gun to class.

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