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Civil Rights Lawyer Doubles as Radio DJ

William Morris is changing the world in more ways than one. As a civil rights lawyer, he works to fight injustice. As a radio DJ, he’s committed to spreading a message of unity and love through the diverse songs he plays. Though these jobs differ greatly, in each one William is working to create a community where people are treated with dignity and respect.

“I think one of our biggest challenges is to resist the propensity that human beings have for creating ‘us’ and ‘them,'” he shares. “It’s sort of simple, but it’s this idea that we have more in common than we have differences.”

Video Transcript

Meet William: DJ & lawyer

(“On air” sign flips on, William sits in studio)

William Morris: Hey, everybody. This is brother William, and welcome to The Soul Kitchen. Everything we do is going to be funky from now on.

William is the host of the radio show “The Soul Kitchen.”

There’s a very famous saying by somebody, I don’t know who it is, that music is the language we speak when words stop. So what I attempt to do over the 10 years I’ve been doing this show is to sort of create a palette of music that includes all different genres — rock and roll, soul, gospel, world music, country music.

(William stands in front of shelves of CDs) So this little shelf here, this is all mine. If I need something, then I come out here and say, what am I looking for? I’m looking for Herbie Hancock, or I’m looking for Fleetwood Mac, or I’m looking for Cat Stevens — which, actually I am looking for Cat Stevens, so that’s good.

I think this is my interpretation of what America is. It’s all of these sounds coming together in a voice of freedom.

This picture here is my biological mother. I was born of a white mother and a Black father who were in high school. They could not keep me because there were miscegenation laws in Indiana at that time. And so they put me up for adoption. I was adopted by a Black family. My father became a Tuskegee Airman during World War II. And when he got out, he attempted to become a private pilot for private airlines or a small company, and of course, had his pilot’s license, and those kinds of jobs were just unavailable for Black pilots.

Producer: What do you think you learned from him?

William: To treat people fairly.

William also works as a civil rights lawyer.

(Speaking on phone) Hey brother, it’s William Morris, how you doing?

Law is a way to help people get that kind of treatment and create a community where people are treated with dignity and respect. I think one of our biggest challenges is to resist the propensity that human beings have for creating “us” and “them.” There’s a great song by Pink Floyd called “Us and Them.” And it’s — (singing) “Us and them. And we’re just ordinary men…” and on and on. It’s sort of simple, but it’s this idea that we have more in common than we have differences.

(In studio) I’m going to play that song as we go out the door. We’ll see you tomorrow on the Saturday night edition of The Soul Kitchen right here on WFIU. Here’s John Gillespie. Alright.

If I was sitting there by myself, this is what I do. I sit here (nods head), and usually, I keep the headphones on because it’s like, okay. And then by the time I get to the end of the show, it’s like, oh man, I just like, I’ve been to a party. I’m sweating.

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