Audience members are empowered after Clarence Bozeman, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s former driver, sends a message to Kent State students during his speech on campus.
“Everybody can be great,” Bozeman said, “because anyone can serve.”
The tall, African American, man dressed in a light tan suite stood before 75 to 100 audience members consisting of mostly Kent State students on Wednesday March 4 to talk about his experiences in the 1960’s serving as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s driver. However, Bozeman did more than just reenact the civil rights movement and tell stories about his past; he motivated and gave a message about serving to students.
“You don’t have to have a college degree to serve, you don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve; you don’t have to know about Plato or Aristotle to serve, you don’t have to know the Second Theory of Relativity in physics to serve,” Bozeman said, “ you only need a heart full of grace and a soul that is generated by love.”
Bozeman became a knowledgeable eyewitness to the civil rights movement when his dean at Alabama State University chose him to be Dr. King’s Sunday morning driver. He drove Dr. King and his wife in the church station wagon, the same station wagon used during the Montgomery Bus Boycott, for six dollars a week while he attended Alabama State.
“I thought it was really inspiring,” said, KSU freshman, Maria Kuhn, “it was just really cool seeing a part of history live in person.”
Throughout the hour speech, Bozeman described and characterized many events he lived through during his young adulthood. With his words, he revealed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s true identity and the struggles of African Americans in the 1960’s.
“I just thought he did a wonderful presentation,” said Dr. Rebecca Ann Zurava.
Zurava is a Kent State alumni and a local resident who has been interested in the civil rights movement since she moved to the United States as a military child in the 1960’s. She said she came to watch Bozeman’s speech because she likes to study a lot about it and try to realize her own history.
Bozeman tells the audience a story about one of his car conversations with Dr. King that he will always remember after a sermon one day. He said he asked Dr. King about forgiveness, and how he could forgive people after all of the things that have happened.
“Dr. King said, ‘Forgiveness is not always for the other fella,’” Bozeman said, “and I took that to heart.”
Clarence Bozeman took the audience in the past with the memories and stories he shared, but more importantly he created inspiration and empowerment with his uplifting messages.
“I want you to always remember Kent,” said Bozeman, “don’t quit, just keep playing.”