Morehouse President Reacts to the Passing of Nelson Mandela
05 Dec 2013
Posted by Elise Durham
December 5, 2013
The entire Morehouse College family joins the global community in mourning the death of Nelson Mandela—a true champion of social justice and reconciliation. Yet of equal importance, he was unquestionably a man of genuine faith and deep humanity. And through his extraordinary grace and dignity, he bore witness to the indomitable human spirit that resides in all of us.
Shortly after his release from prison in 1990, Morehouse alumnus and Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson ’56 welcomed him to Atlanta with great pomp and ceremony. During that visit, Morehouse conferred upon him an honorary doctorate that was handed to him by Coretta Scott King and the College unveiled an oil portrait of him that now hangs in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel.
I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Mandela in South Africa in 1992. It was an encounter that I shall never forget. Through this exchange, I learned much about his personal background and gleaned some valuable insight regarding how he was able to sustain himself during his many years of incarceration. Through his most difficult times, including 27 years of imprisonment and four years of solitary confinement, Mr. Mandela was able to go to a deeper place in his spirituality to “believe” that all would be well. It was that belief that led this great man to ultimately find forgiveness for his jailers and lead the South African nation to peace. It is a lesson from which we all can learn.