Photo by KeShawn Ennis/Echo staff photographer.

Roland Martin talks freedom in many forms at Rock the Lyceum event

January 22, 2019

Journalist Roland Martin was this year’s first Rock the Lyceum speaker of the spring 2019 semester. Martin spoke Wednesday N.C. Central University’s B.N. Duke Auditorium.

Roland Martin said he was not at NCCU to deliver a “feel-good” message, but rather to speak the truth. “I’m not satisfied until fully, undeniably, unapologetically, no damn doubt, 100 percent free,” was the title of his speech.

Martin studied journalism at Texas A&M and earned a master’s degreee in Christian communication at Louisiana Baptist College.

Throughout his career, Martin has made a name for himself as a successful journalist and social issue correspondent. Martin has worked for both BET and TV One, but he established his reputation primarily during a 6-year stint as a political contributor for CNN. Outside of television has worked for the Chicago Defender, a Chicago-based newspaper and he has written several books, including “Speak, Brother!: A Black Man’s View of America” and “The First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House.”

Today, Martin continues to discuss and debate issues in the country from an African-Americans’ point of view on his web series titled “Roland Martin Unfiltered.” His straightforward and ‘stick-to-it-iveness’ approach concerning these issues has made him recognized around the nation.

In his Rock the Lyceum lecture, Martin spoke with passion and purpose, clearly capturing the attention of his audience.

“Freedom,” was a major topic of discussion as he explained how African-Americans must not be satisfied until they are broken from their mental bondage.

“Freedom means that I shouldn’t have to change who I am, how I walk, how I talk, in order to make you comfortable,” Roland explained. “ That really has been our story for all these years.

He urged students to strive for freedom not just in their personal lives but also for the freedom of others in order to succeed in their life.

“Freedom is not just about you as an individual getting yours,” Martin said.  “It’s about how we will also open the door and bring along others to participate in this process.”

African-Americans, he said, need to value each other and the resources that they have. They need to avoid settling for less. 

Martin explained how he takes verbal battles on television very serious as he reflected on the time that CNN executives would tell him “to relax” when it came to heated debates saying that the issues were “not a big deal.” Martin said he refused to “settle down.”

“There was a time when a brother like me couldn’t be be on network television,” Martin said. “ I understood that I wasn’t on television talking for me … I was talking for people who could not say nothing for decades.”

Martin stressed that students need to support the institutions that support them. He urged the students to give back to their universities.

“Revolutions don’t start with group consensus. They start in the minds of individuals,” said Martin adding that student must fight against complacency.

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