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:
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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. …