MLK Jr. brought this country forward

Published 9:07 am Thursday, January 20, 2011

Column: Thanks for Listening

Martin Luther King Jr. Day was Monday of this week, and I could not help but to think of what great passion and accomplishment he has passed on since his generation. When you think of the civil rights movement and all that was overcome during the late ’50s and into the early ’70s, it is amazing what this man led people to do.

Now when you think of it in actual years since the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 47 years does not seem like very much. How blinded were we for so many years by color? Why did it take such dedication from not only Martin Luther King but many of his followers just to get everyone to treat people as equals? This is not a question I can answer in a simple column, but it is one to ponder as we search our history and learn from it to put a better future in front of our children.

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When you think of all the greatness in the following people that we may have missed out on because of prejudice it is really sad: Muhammad Ali, Louis Armstrong, Maya Angelou, Josephine Baker, James Booker, Arthur Ashe, Wilt Chamberlain, Alex Haley, Billie Holiday, Dorothy Dandridge, BB King, Langston Hughes, Alan Page, Sidney Poitier, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Althea Gibson, Barry Sanders, John Lewis, Michael Jordan, Quincy Jones, Jackie Joyner-Kersey, Earl Monroe, Jackie Robinson, Sugar Ray Robinson, Colin Powell, Wilma Rudolph and our current President Barack Obama.

Football pioneers

Staying on the civil rights movement and how generations help inspire other generations, I offer the Green Bay Packers as a perfect example. During the ’60s players like Herb Adderley, Willie Davis and Willie Wood led the way of how to act and play the game of football like men. They stood out and excelled so the young players of this generation like Charles Woodson, Nick Collins, Donald Driver and Greg Jennings could stand out on today’s fields and television sets.

Packers on my mind

I think it is weird how this column led me to talk about the Green Bay Packers (wink) as they just happen to be in the NFC Championship game this Sunday. Now some of my readers know that I am a Packers fan (Insert boos here from Vikings fans) and as a fan have always been loyal to them, so it will be no surprise that I will offer a bold prediction on Sunday’s game:

Green Bay Packers: 24

Chicago Bears: 13

MVP: Aaron Rodgers

I do hope that as Vikings fans, you will cheer on the Packers over the Chicago Bears because Wisconsin is closer to Minnesota than Illinois, and you know you like cheese!

Go Packers.

Tribune Publisher Scott Schmeltzer’s column appears every Thursday.