Kansas Coach Turner Gill Speaks at South Junior High's Martin Luther King Day Celebration

Jan. 14, 2011


Gill Speaks at South Junior High

“Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it” was one of the messages delivered by Kansas Head Football Coach Turner Gill when he spoke at Lawrence South Junior High School’s Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Friday afternoon.

Gill spoke to the entire student body at the annual MLK celebration assembly. His message was that of carrying on the tradition and the teachings of Dr. King. Gill quoted Dr. King when talking about how hatred holds us back from reaching our true potential.

“Everybody in this gym has potential,” Gill said. “Everybody has potential to do great things in their lives. But it’s up to you to decide if you’re going to respond in the right way when you face adversity.”

Gill talked about facing racial adversity in his life. When he was in the fourth grade in Fort Worth, Texas, he had to be bused to a different school across town due to desegregation. While at first Gill and his sisters viewed this move negatively, his parents convinced the kids that this was “An opportunity to get a better education, and to make us better people.”

During his life, Gill has helped break down several racial barriers, becoming the first African-American quarterback to start at the University of Nebraska. He also became the first African-American head football coach at the University of Kansas.

His final message to the students of South Junior High was to reach out and help one another, and to do this every single day.

In addition to Gill’s speech, the MLK celebration included a video about the life of Dr. King as well as songs from the Cougar Ensemble and poems about Martin Luther King’s legacy read by a member of each grade.