Saint Leo University eNews | MLK Day Speaker, Al Duncan

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Saint Leo University eNews | MLK Speaker, Al Duncan:

University Campus students were able to spend valuable time on Martin Luther King Jr. Day hearing from one of the nation's up-and-coming youth empowerment advocates, Al Duncan. Duncan easily engaged campus students in a give-and-take on the qualities needed for true leadership. Above all other characteristics, Duncan believes the power of choice––exercised daily––is indispensable. "Choice is the steering wheel for your life," he said. "You have a choice to exhibit exceptional service to other people." Each day, he likes to ask himself: "What do you know that you could be using to make your life or someone else's life better?"

Duncan, now 39, recalled the story of how his life shifted at age 24. He was then enjoying a carefree lifestyle as a professional saxophone player, but on a more serious level was also reconnecting with the written works of Frederick Douglass and Dr. King. Then one day he received a disturbing call from his mother, back in the dangerous inner-city Philadelphia neighborhood where he had grown up. Duncan's younger brother, only 12 at the time, was headed for trouble. He returned home to stay with the family and help, but determined he couldn't shield his younger sibling from the violence of the neighborhood.

So the two relocated to Atlanta, and at 24, Duncan took on the responsibility of getting a new place, finding a new line of work, and raising his 12-year-old brother. Although challenging, it all turned out for the best. Consequently, the advice he shares with young people who have grown up in a celebrity-oriented media culture is this: "Leadership is about much more than what you do when you're in the spotlight. It's about what you do when you're on the spot."


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