Central Texas boy transforms into MLK, delivers iconic speech as local school begins celebrating Black History Month

Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 6:07 PM CST
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BELTON, Texas (KWTX) - A Central Texas elementary school student said he was inspired to transform into the role of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as his school in Belton kicked off Black History Month with an multicultural event.

Grayson Williams, 10, is a fifth grader at Pirtle Elementary in the Belton ISD and recited a portion of MLK’s iconic “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech, the last speech delivered by the civil rights leader on April 3, 1968, at the Mason Temple in Memphis, TN. King was assassinated the following day.

Pirtle Assistant principal Dominic White said he knew Grayson was the perfect person for the job and encouraged him to look behind King’s most well-known “I Have a Dream” speech.

“I originally showed him the video of Dr. King giving that Mountaintop speech which was his last speech that he gave before he tragically died and just the words from it and what it evoked and so I presented it and said ‘hey you know what I would love to challenge you instead of doing a portion of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, to do the mountaintop speech and you can read it. We can give you a que card before your peers and he just looked at me and said ‘I’ll do it’ but he said I’m going to challenge myself to learn it and memorize it.”

And Grayson did just that, a challenging feat for a young boy.

Grayson’s mom, Quinessa, said her son practiced for weeks to get it right, reciting the speech in front of his family at home and getting their feedback.

He even printed it out and worked on it while they traveled in the car.

“I felt like it was going to be fun, and I felt like I was going to have fun doing this and Mr. White recommended me and because my dad told me how he used to do this kind of stuff and I was like ‘I want to make Martin Luther King proud, God proud and my dad proud and that’s really why I did it.”

Grayson not only made his family proud, but he also left his entire school in awe and White beaming with pride.

“He’s one of many students that we’ve seen grown tremendously,” White said. “It makes you proud even though they’re not my own blood, still they’re like my own children.”

Grayson nailed his performance, not struggling to find a single word in front of the large crowd while dressed in a black suit and black tie on stage.

Grayson said he believes all the hard work and practice was worth it.

“It feels good,” he said. “It feels like if Martin Luther King was still alive, he’d be proud of me right now. It means a whole lot.”