I‘m old enough to remember segregation. My family lived in Sedalia, Missouri, in the early 1960s. It was well after Brown v. Board of Education, but Horace Mann Elementary School, which I attended, was all-white in a town with a large African-American population.
Segregation wasn’t just limited to the schools. Housing, public swimming pools and movie theaters were segregated, as well. Even a child could recognize this was wrong.
It wasn’t until age 19, when I went to work for a multi-national corporation in Kansas City, Missouri, that I had any significant contact with African-American folks. I learned I had an affinity for their rich culture, and that has only grown deeper with time.
Later, I would serve on the board of directors of Oklahoma City’s Opportunities Industrialization Center and become a member of the Urban League and the NAACP. Every year, I attend OKC’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade as a reminder of the American hero’s contribution to making us a better and more inclusive nation.