Shelley Osterloh ReportingMartin Luther King Day is just ten days away, and students at one West Jordan middle school are already learning the lessons he taught. Meet the teacher, a man who marched right along side the civil rights leader.
France Davis is the Pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church, a professor at the University of Utah, and a community leader who serves on many boards as an advocate for people of color, the poor, the elderly and the disadvantaged.
He is a man who has been shaped by the lessons of Dr. Martin Luther King -- who knew him personally -- and teaches those principles to others.
No doubt some students at West Hill Middle School didn't know who Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was, but Reverend France Davis knew him well. He was in Washington DC on that sweltering hot day in 1963.
Rev. France Davis: "At the end of the day, after we listened to boring politicians and other people speak all day long, Dr. King rose and said, ‘I have dream.’"
Reverend Davis told the children stories of King's childhood, about how he loved to read and saw education as the way out of poverty.
Rev. France Davis "What I suggested to the kids today is that Martin Luther King was a good role model, a good example. That he taught us a lot about how to become good scholars and learn, but also how to treat other people."
They are lessons that are as timely now as they were forty years ago.
Lyndsey Turley, 8th Grade: "His ‘I have a dream’ speech, that was really cool because its right. Everyone should be able to be judged by their character and not their color."
Reverend Davis says the work of Dr. King and the civil rights movement has made tremendous progress, but much more needs to be done.
Rev. France Davis: "So that people of all sorts are part of the ownership of the business community. We also need to ensure full access to the academic arena so anybody can go to any school that they choose to go to. And so that we are politically represented, we need to make sure that people have the opportunity to run for and get elected to office."
Reverend Davis says Dr. King had a tremendous influence on him and was part of the reason he went into the ministry.