A lot has been written over the past week or so about the Mets playing in the civil rights game tomorrow. Willie Randolph is the first African-American manager in New York and Omar Minaya is of Latin descent. That alone should qualify the Mets as a logical choice for the game.
Some writers have questioned Major League Baseball’s choice of the Mets. The roster has plenty of Latin players, there’s no denying that. Those same Latin players wouldn’t be in the game today if it wasn’t for the civil rights movement. Baseball would still be the best white players in the world, not the best players.
I read a column by Anthony DiComo at MLB.com. It’s a good description of Randolph’s thoughts and feelings about participating in the Civil Rights Game. Being part of this country’s white majority, it’s difficult for me to fathom what the feelings and experiences of a minority in this country must be like.
The Mets visit to Memphis tomorrow prompted me to do some reading. I wanted to share with you some of the things that I found by looking around the Internet on the topic of civil rights. We all learned in school about Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, and Martin Luther King, jr. But those school days are long past for me and maybe some of you. The Civil Rights Game prompted me to take a refresher class to find out, as an adult, what I learned about as a child and adolescent.
I started with Martin Luther King, jr. The obvious choice when beginning a search on civil rights. I read the Wikipedia profile on him and was amazed by his accomplishments. He died three months after his 39th birthday, the same age that I am now. The achievements during those 39 years make me feel like I haven’t done anything yet. He was murdered in Memphis 40 years ago next week. He went to college at 15 after skipping two grades in high school. The impact he had on society today, awards he won and recognition he received are so numerous that I would point you to Google for an education. I was disappointed at the King Center website but I’m sure it’s best visited in person.
I decided to watch the “I Have A Dream” speech that he made in Washington, D.C. 45 years ago. It’s 12 minutes long and I included it here for you to see. This has to be considered one of the best and most inspiring public speeches in this country’s history. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen the full speech before today. I don’t know why that is but I’ve got the same excuses that everyone else does. I’m too busy with the things in my life that I choose to spend my time on. I’m glad that changed today.
Tomorrow I’m going to read about Jackie Robinson. For now, watch this speech and I hope it inspires you too.