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Close to King: Famous orator to give MLK speech at Viterbo tonight

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Orator Nucleus Johnson preaches King’s words as if he were still here.

Yesterday during WIZM news, you may have heard clips of speeches that sounded a lot like Martin Luther King, Jr.

Those speeches, however, were actually performed by Nucleus Johnson. The sound. The cadences. Even the expressions on his face, mimic those of Dr. King.

Johnson has made a living of preaching King’s message and he’ll do so at 7 p.m. tonight on the Viterbo University campus. The event is called “Echos of a King” and takes place at the Fine Arts Center.

While the famous orator looks up to King, it was his father, first, that was inspiration.

“I picked it up, actually, from my dad, who would play Dr. King’s sermons around the house,” Johnson said. “He would say them, himself, all the time. Initially, I was trying to be like my dad.”

Viterbo endowed professor Rick Kyte listened to Johnson during a sound check Monday afternoon.

“He performed about 3 minutes of Dr. King’s “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” sermon,” Kyte said. “It was incredible. I was in tears after the first minute. If you have a chance to hear him (tonight), don’t miss it. 

“It’s the closest any of us will ever have to being in the presence of the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

While Johnson literally speaks King’s message, he also believes they may be as important as ever with the country divided along political lines, race and gender.

“Nonviolent direct action is still the way to go but, (King) said, that if we don’t learn to live together as brothers, we will perish together as fools,” Johnson said.

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