Great Black Americans Readers Commend People from Arts Sports, Military

Article excerpt

IN HONOR of Black History Month, readers were asked to identify outstanding Black Americans from the last 150 years and indicate why they should be so honored. Their selections are given below:

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As the first black in major league baseball, Jackie Robinson demonstrated the abilities of a champion ball player. He also displayed the class and poise to convince prejudiced fans and even his most bigoted Brooklyn Dodger teammates that blacks and whites must work together to succeed, not only in baseball but in life, as well. Don Casalone Lemay

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By refusing to yield her seat on a bus to a white person, Rosa Parks showed as much courage as any of the great public African-Americans, such as Martin Luther King Jr.

It is no easy thing for the ordinary person to confront unethical behavior in an everyday situation where he or she may be ridiculed or even assaulted. I find Rosa Parks to be a woman of enormous courage and a good role model for each of us when we perceive an injustice but are afraid to speak up. Jane Cocalis University City

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Gen. Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

The highest ranking black officer in military history, this brilliant, articulate man played a major role in the allies' victory in Operation Desert Storm. I was extremely impressed by Powell's humility and his ability to relate in lay terms the complex strategy involved in that military action.

Powell is definitely future presidential material. Gene Carton Ladue

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Frederick Douglass was one of the giants in African-American history. He was born a slave. Illegally, he learned to read and write. He ran away and escaped to freedom.

He ran his own newspaper, the North Star. He wrote against slavery and for bettering lives for Native Americans, Asians and poor people.

Douglass, "Father of Civil Rights," worked with President Lincoln and helped to end slavery, pass new and better work laws, improve schools and have everyone be treated equally. He spent his life making a better world for all. Barbara Reiss St. Charles

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Jeter Thompson, St. Louis jazz pianist, composer and recording artist, represents excellence in both the performing arts and his own personality. A strong role model to African-American youth through his annual Young Audiences performances, he exhibits the self-confidence that a person develops only through concentration on continuous self-improvement. He has the rare ability in a highly competitive environment to maintain a very appealing and sweet disposition. B.J. Hengemuehler Bridgeton

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I am recommending Nannie Mitchell Turner to be honored. She helped her husband in the growth of the Argus (newspaper) to become the oldest and largest Negro-owned business in the state of Missouri. Honored highly in journalism, with no schooling, she remains highly regarded for her leadership. She's the best! Evangelist Barbara Drury Normandy

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In 1947, Floyd M. Crenshaw, age 13, was the first and only black child to attend St. Gregory Grade School in St. Ann.

Floyd was a pleasant, fun and bright student. At the time, I never realized his fears or what courage it took for him and his parents. He had no one to guard him.

I think Floyd M. Crenshaw, at the age of 13, helped change black history. …

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