I coached at Penn State for 17 years and it was a unique place. The program stood apart in this regard: graduation rates for Black student-athletes and White student-athletes were equally high--both over 80% when the national average was around 50% overall. Across big-time college football Penn State's graduation rate equality was the exception, a huge exception.
Today 50 years after The March on Washington I was thinking about a passage from the eulogy I delivered for my father's Memorial Service. It captures what made the football program at Penn State special.
"The players that came here to Penn State, came
here because here was Martin Luther King's dream. Here was a place where black kids and white kids could hold hands in a huddle, where we
would all be given a chance -- an equal chance -- where they would be judged by
the content of their character, not by the color of their skin, nor the
way in which they prayed to their God. Bound by a common cause our differences
would melt away."
The truth and dream Martin Luther King, Jr articulated 50 years ago today is a standard that we should hope we can measure up to every day.
As Julian Bond said last night on C-Span "Martin Luther King spoke to black people and white people in the common language of evangelical Christianity that they both understood."
The key point being that he spoke to all of us.....our challenge is to make sure we are all listening.