The Paw Print
Reverend Samuel “Billy” Kyles received a standing ovation for his words of encouragement to a packed house at Adams State’s Richardson Hall, Thursday. Kyles, who is most known for being at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. side when he was assassinated, has been a pastor at Monumental Church in Memphis, Tennessee since 1959.
In the beginning of his speech Kyle’s announced, “I am a preacher and so I preach sometimes.”
He devotes much of his time to the youth of today because they are the future of tomorrow. He feels that if we learn about the world now we can fix more national issues. ‘I spend as much time as I can with young people. Much sooner than we think they’re going to be running everything we’re doing as adults,” said Kyles. “You won’t be just running your neighborhoods and local communities you will be running the world.” He also discussed global warming and the environment. “You will solve the problems with the environment because my generation messed it up; they knew were messing it up because of greed. I never thought I would have to pay for water. You should just be able to get it out of the sky.” Most importantly, he feels that eventually the youth of today will be able solve international disputes without going to war.
Kyle talks about how Martin Luther King taught us to dream. Dreamers hear things that others do not hear and feel things other do not feel. He goes on to say how slaves had dreams too. “It was illegal for slaves to learn how to read. In spite of that, within 150 years we have an African American president.”
More personally, Reverend Kyles told the Adams State audience the most vivid details of his last moments with Dr. King. Kyles came to the Hotel that night a five o’clock expecting to have dinner. King told him they would wait until 6 P.M. So there they were King, Kyles, and Abernathy sitting in a hotel room. What do three preachers do when they aren’t preaching? Tell jokes. He describes King as being happy in his last hours. Kyles remembers King saying, “If a preacher can’t tell a good joke than he can’t preach.” Sadly, when the three preachers were leaving for dinner, King was shot once in the neck and in the chest. Kyles sat just at the foot of the stairs. Kyles remembers, “I thought I was having a nightmare but I was awake.” Today, he feels that God put him there to be a witness to King’s death, but also to see his dream come true.
Adams State College would like to give a special “thank you” to Loosebrock and Edward Crowther for inviting Rev. Kyles to our school, and Rev. Kyles for giving us a once-in-a-lifetime experience.