Tyler Perry

With Wednesday, April 4th being the 50th Anniversary of the assignation of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., director and playwright Tyler Perry reflects on the Civil Right's Leader's legacy and his brush with racial discrimination in the Deep South.

In a beautiful essay written by Tyler Perry for AARP The Magazine, he writes: "Because of Dr. King’s dream, and the countless people who fought against inequality and for the end of segregation, I am now a successful businessman. I am able to live where I want and have my son educated wherever he chooses. We can’t be denied because of the color of our skin."

Tyler was so moved by Dr. King's devotion to non-violent social change, that he moved to Atlanta, the birthplace of the great Civil Rights advocate.

"I was growing up in a home full of emotional and physical brutality, it fascinated me to think that someone could actually change the world without using violence."

Tyler Perry

After moving to Atlanta from Louisiana while still in his early 20s, Tyler familiarized himself with the affluent neighborhood off Paces Ferry Road, also known as "the Beverly Hills of Atlanta".

Tyler often drove up and down Paces Ferry, dreaming about one day owning one of the regal mansions in the leafy suburb.

Over a decade later, Tyler realized his dream of owning property on Paces Ferry Road. But that dream was nearly derailed by a crusty old lawyer who refused to let go of Atlanta's segregationist past.

Tyler writes:

"Several months later, after the purchase was in progress, an Atlanta sheriff served a summons against me, brought by Moreton Rolleston Jr., an infamous Atlanta attorney. Rolleston not only previously owned a downtown motel ironically called Heart of Atlanta, but also at one time owned the Paces Ferry land where I was planning to build my dream home. Even though Rolleston had lost the property in a malpractice suit, he claimed otherwise. When I showed up in court, Rolleston took a long look at me. I watched as the blood drained from his face. At first I didn’t understand his shocked reaction, though I would soon learn that he owned several properties in the area and all the deeds contained a provision stating they couldn’t be sold to African Americans or Jews.

When I heard this, I was taken aback. Rolleston believed so defiantly in his right to discriminate against African Americans that, years earlier, he had argued the merits of segregation all the way to the Supreme Court.

The judge in my case decided in my favor. There was a sort of poetic justice in his ruling.

Here I was, purchasing a property that was once owned by a staunch segregationist. My mother was so proud when I told her this. One evening I was sharing this story with guests at my Atlanta home (built on the very same Paces Ferry property). One of my guests was the civil rights leader and congressman John Lewis. With an emotional voice, Lewis told me, “I knew that man.

I was one of the people who sat in at the lunch counter of his hotel” back in the early 1960s. Had it not been for Dr. King’s dream and vision, the land I call home, where I have entertained guests including President Obama and Dr. King’s children, is somewhere I would never have been allowed to live—though I would have been allowed to work there, probably as a servant. I may not remember every moment in my life, but I do remember the moments that changed my life—and that evening was one of them.

Photo by WENN.com

  • E-VannaRootsAllEvil

    Inspiration

  • MsPam

    Tyler you can do those things because you’re a millionaire not because of Martin Luther King!

  • Blue

    Oops.

  • Quitedeliteful

    Dr. King was your inspiration and that is beautiful and cannot be trivialized but being a millionaire is what got you into that beautiful, upscale and exclusive neighborhood....

  • ALLMINE?

    MLK should have left black folks alone.. Smh

  • ?Sugar&Spice?

    Not a fan of men who make a living ridiculing women.

  • justlooking

    Just saw there is active shooter. YOUtube headquaters.

  • Ni Ni

    Oh my, somebody is mad because they didn't get they money.

  • KcoolMuziq

    Tyler Perry (whom will be a billionaire) just like Oprah is becoming hated by his own race. It's sad because he keeps many known and less known black actors constantly working. I had the opportunity to work in one of his projects. But Sadly I had to pass on it.

  • Quitedeliteful

    WHAT??? This is CRAZY!!!!

  • joel adams

    Dang . rich neggas beards look trashy af

  • KISSmyENTIREass

    This man cheat all the black writers for his shows. He fired them all because they wanted to be apart of the union. So he himself dont believe in equality and empowering people especially the ones who work for him. BYE MISS PERRY?????

    http://www.nickiswift.com/86935/shady-side-tyler-perry/

  • bemetoo

    Where's his wife and child?

  • nekkkyj

    Only celebrity that can hide his child

  • OvertheMississippi

    HE NEEDS TO REFLECT ON THAT GARBAGE HE PUT ON SCREEN CALLED “Acrimony”! Pure awful!

  • Kemi

    Lol thank goodness I skipped that movie.

  • Karen Brady

    I'm on Paces Ferry all the time and while Vinings is nice...when diid it become Beverly Hills of Atl?

  • Karen Brady

    I'll bet

  • Karen Brady

    Miss Perry...tees heee

  • http://sandrarose.com SandraRose

    He's talking about West Paces Ferry Road, over there by the governor's mansion, where homes range in price from $3 million to $20 million. Google Lita Sullivan, who was murdered by her rich white husband. She lived near West Paces Ferry.

  • pure_rachet

    Sounded legit but I have never seen his movies save that one where the HIV was involved and that was trash so... Thanks for not having me install a pop up blocker to steal this one.

  • Malcom Flex

    You mean his babymama beard and out of wedlock?

  • Dystaney Kimble

    It's really sad the hate this man receives I can't help but believe that a large part of it is because he's a christian .

  • KcoolMuziq

    " believe that a large part of it is because he's a christian"

    I don't believe that's the reason. Because he's disliked by some other black entertainers also. Some refuse to appear in his movies. I believe it's "other" reasons why.

    Although some are starting to come around. Most have publicly criticized him.It's strange because it's other black directors that have done far more critical,buffoonery type movies. and NO ONE NEVER says anything about them or their movies.It's only Tyler .

  • KISSmyENTIREass

    Sandra i love u but I'm nosy and I'm from miami I visit Atlanta alot. I love once in awhile u post restaurants that are go... we need to know more??

  • KISSmyENTIREass

    Karen What im gonna do with u ??

  • Dystaney Kimble

    I see and this is my surface opinion . In short ; I haven't looked into it .

    But most of the directors you've talked about I assure you that they had rank before Tyler Perry had pull .....Spike Lee is a pretty big one on that list . It's not too many that willing to go against him especially during his prime .

    Tyler Perry is a cheap shot if you ask me . He makes horrible movies . His legacies rest in the hand of being one of the " good guys " . He is a Christian follower by not a leader . He is definitely not or has he ever claimed to be a spokesperson for the church although he has worked closely with TD Jakes and you can see his admiration for the man . He hasn't elected his self as a Leader of the church ... a lot of black people tend to throw that Tidbit in his face ... as if he's pretending . Even his molestation ! They stoop pretty low to discredit this man . I don't believe he was expected to last this long and go this far especially the fact that his movies suck . He's making a pretty good sum , black , along side Oprah(at times) .... it's more along the lines of "who the *** does he think he is ?!? "... you can't be as good as your best praiser say you are , or as bad as your worst critic think you are.

  • KcoolMuziq

    I’m sorry I have to disagree with U on something.I don’t feel all of Tyler Perry movies are bad. My ALL time favorites are ‘Diary Of Mad Black Woman’ & ‘The Family That Preys’(starring my favorite actress Kathy Bates) very well done movies.

    Also no comment on Spike Lee( I met him and he was a pleasure)

    It’s NOTHING wrong with being a Christian follower and not a leader. Which I consider myself that. U have to have a calling to be a Christian leader. Even though I’ve kinda ignored my calling m. Because I feel I’m not ready and maybe Tyler feels the same way.

  • KISSmyENTIREass

    sorry Sandra lol I just wanted to know good high end restaurant in Atlanta, need your recommendation. I'm from miami here in Atlanta for another day.

  • ALLMINE?

    So true

  • bemetoo

    Yep how you suppose to be so church like and go have an artificial baby