Shared Stories: Oprah and Morehouse College

Watching Oprah on the Golden Globe awards reminded Kay Halsey of a visit to Morehouse College with her father when she was a little girl.  It made her think of service to others and Martin Luther King, Jr.  Shared Stories is a weekly column featuring articles by participants in a writing class at the Norwalk Senior Center.  Bonnie Mansell is the instructor for this free class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program. Curated by Carol Kearns.

By Kay Halsey

Ninety-four years ago during the 1920’s my father took me to Morehouse College to a Christmas concert.  I was mesmerized by the magnificent men’s voices singing, “Oh come, oh come, Emanuel,” as they marched in, dressed in black robes.

Atlanta, Georgia, was a segregated city in those days, and the college was for Negro men.  It was a time of the greatest depression in America’s history.  The birth of Jesus was celebrated in all the Christian churches at that time with carols known to all.

I was surprised when I watched the 2018 Golden Globe awards that Oprah Winfrey had financed the education of 415 men at that college for $320,000.  Many of these men went on to have professional jobs.  

Oprah had, during her lifetime, financed 64,688 scholarships to other colleges also.  Oprah believed in Emanuel who taught men to love one another.

I am 97 years old now and have spent a lifetime trying to live a life of service to others, as Emanuel taught us to love one another.  I have touched hundreds of people, teaching and relating to their needs.  I notice however that Christmas and Thanksgiving today are influenced by buying, decorating and eating.  Prizes are given for the best decorations, what we see.  

Oprah was not born when Morehouse College was established.  Nor was Martin Luther King, Jr. yet born.  It was what they did that changed the lives of so many people.  

Love one another.  The things we dream about, Love, Joy, and Peace, are possible if we care about others.