One person can make a difference

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 22, 2014

In recognition of Black History Month, I’m reminded of some black leaders in my lifetime that left a mark and not a stain on all Americans.  

Being an avid baseball fan and as a young aspiring baseball player, Jackie Robinson was my hero. In 1947, he broke the color barrier by signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He opened the door for the people of his race to begin their fight for civil rights. He and his family were abused, threatened and shunned, but he persevered.

I believe that Martin Luther King was motivated by the courage of Jackie Robinson and will be remembered as one of the bravest men in all of American history. He led the fight in the Civil Rights Movement. He gave his life that others might enjoy their rightful place in these United States of America, one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all.

Rosa Parks proved that there are exceptions to every rule. It’s been said that one must stand up to be counted in any movement. Rosa Parks made history as a civil rights activist by being different and sitting down in a public bus and refusing to get up when threatened with being arrested. She went to jail so that others could gain their freedom.

On the local scene, Mr. Edward Hall, not nationally famous, made a difference in St. John Parish as he bravely fought, in spite of strong, angry opposition, and challenged the courts to allow blacks the right to vote in St. John Parish. He was represented in court by Mr. Thurgood Marshall, who later served on the U.S. Supreme Court. I try to imagine, but it is impossible to know, how Mr. Hall felt the first time he was allowed to vote.

The recreational park on the river road in Garyville was dedicated in honor of Mr. Ezekiel Jackson. I got to know Mr. Jackson as he was active in the political arena. He wasn’t a very articulate speaker, and I’m not sure of his education, but what he possessed is not taught in school. He was real, cared about his people and had no fear of man. I may stand to be corrected, but I think it was my brother, Mark, who served on the Police Jury at the time and was responsible for naming the park “Ezekiel Jackson Park.”

These five people are proof that one person with a passion can make a difference.

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