Radio host Joyner joins Livingstone for Founder’s Day

Published 7:54 pm Thursday, February 7, 2019

By Samuel Motley

SALISBURY — It’s fitting that Livingstone College celebrates Founder’s Day during the month of February, Black History Month, said nationally syndicated radio host Tom Joyner on Thursday as he joined in a spiritually charged celebration of the school’s creation.

Livingstone, a historically black college, was reopened in 1882 by Dr. Joseph Charles Price, who became the school’s first president. It originally opened in 1879, and this year marks its 140th anniversary.

Joyner, who gave the school’s Founder’s Day address on Thursday, has an honorary doctorate from the school and came to Founder’s Day hoping, he said, that it would encourage people to give more so that “this great institution won’t be short-changed.”

A 1970 graduate of Tuskegee University in Alabama, Joyner has used his influence to support HBCUs. The Tom Joyner Foundation has raised $1 million for Livingstone.

“Big things are happening at Livingstone College, starting with this event,” Joyner said.

During the address, he asked, “What made Dr. Price have the will, the tenacity, and the confidence to become the founder and leader of Livingstone College in 1882?”

He answered by saying that Price “demonstrated faith in his people.”

“That is something that we used to do. That is something that we have stopped doing,” Joyner said. “It is something we need to begin doing again or we will continue to lose our churches, our businesses, our media outlets and our historically black universities.”

But there are a few things that can be done to ensure Price’s efforts were not in vain, Joyner said.

Those include giving back — donating and financially assisting HBCUs; supporting “black people and black causes” by finding “someone or something black that you can give your time to”; and being “intentional about improving the state of black America.”

“Will this 140th anniversary of this great school be the springboard for you to make a real plan of action?” he asked.

After the Founder’s Day ceremony, members of Livingstone staff, students and community marched to Price’s mausoleum, where his great-granddaughter Susan Brantley placed a wreath in his memory. Brantley said it was an honor to be there.

It “put a tear in my eye” and she was very proud, Brantley said.

Kimberly Harrington, assistant director of public relations at Livingstone, said Thursday’s ceremony went off without a hitch.

“We have raised over $200,000 today of our $700,000 goal,” Harrington said. “We could not have asked for a more perfect day — from the speaking, to the weather, to the generosity.”

Asked to comment on Founder’s Day, Livingstone President Jimmy R. Jenkins Sr. said, “Too often we don’t realize whose shoulders we are standing on.”

Founder’s Day, Jenkins said, “recognizes those who paved the way.”