Al Davis: A Tribute to a Freedom Rider in the NFL and to Others
Damali Binta – Jul 31, 2012
As the 2012 season approaches, I am reflecting on the many courageous leaders who stood up for disenfranchised people in various professions. Mr. Al Davis is one of those leaders who fought for the rights and opportunities of women and minorities in the NFL and in America, in general.
Davis is to be honored at one level, while there are others, just ordinary citizens who did their part in forging a trail of opportunities for women and minorities.
Because we are all connected, I realize that the progress of one sector of our community is related to the progress of another. John Donne said it so well.
The advances in the general society are prototypical of the progress in the NFL. At this time in history, there may be a reversal of influence. So, I conjecture that since the NFL is one of the most popular and lucrative professioinal enterprises in the United States, the continued progress and advocacy for change can be modeled by the NFL, and therefore permeate throughout our society.
In times like these, wellness and wholesness must be advocated. Too many former, young NFL players are injured, depressed, suffer with addictions, and are suicidal. Something is being done, and more should be done to help those who have difficulties making transitions in their lives and careers.
A recent case is that of O. J. Murdock. Since he was connected to many others in his social circle, it seems strange that no one was able to discern his inner struggle. Murdock's death is symbolic of the insidious, inner struggle of so many former and/or injured NFL players.
If, as John Donne has said, we are connected, surely, we can feel the sorrows of those who are strugglling emotionally or otherwise.
I have offered a tribute to a common man and to another man, Mr. Al Davis. We need one another in the Raider Nation, in the NFL, and in America.
Here is the tribute to another Freedom Rider:
A Tribute to Mr. Herbert Willie Hamilton
“To whom much is given, much is required.”
Sometimes we live our lives as though we are not connected to others. John Donne said, “No man is an island.” Since this song was taught to me by a great professor of music, I want to share the words to the poem by John Donne. Next, I will share the lyrics of a song, taught to many of us by Mrs. Richie Dell Thomas, in the high school Glee Club.
No Man Is An Island
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
The lyrics to the song that we sang in the Glee Club reminds me of the contributions that Mr. Herbert Hamilton and others have made to America and to Harris County:
No man is an island,
No man stands alone,
Each man's joy is joy to me,
Each man's grief is my own.
We need one another,
So I will defend,
Each man as my brother,
Each man as my friend.
I saw the people gather,
I heard the music start,
The song that they were singing,
Is ringing in my heart.
No man is an island,
Way out in the blue,
We all look to the one above,
For our strength to renew.
When I help my brother,
Then I know that I,
Plant the seed of friendship,
That will never die.
I, hereby, resolve to honor a man who I watched walked the corridors of Nabrit Science Center at Texas Southern University when I was young in 1962. The man is so brilliant in mathematics and physics, that I would stare at him and wonder, How could he do both mathematics and physics?
Later, I was invited to an interview at Houston Community College on Waugh Drive in 1989. That same brilliant man helped me to gain employment in a system that I have worked in for about 25 years.
Mr. Hamilton is a man that deserves respect from his colleagues, both past and present. He is a man who challenged the racist system in America. He and others protested and they were called The Freedom Riders.
In the 21st century, the Freedom Riders are those who pursue academic and professional excellence in order to navigate to a safe place in America, despite the storms that still rage, in both overt and covert ways.
The standard of performance for Mr. Hamilton is gentle and wise. I remember most of all that Mr. Hamilton started every faculty meeting with prayer, ending the prayer in a special way.
How bold and how wise this man is. He knows the power of prayer.
There is a scripture in the Holy Bible that says, “To whom much is given, much is required.” Mr. Hamilton is blessed and anointed. He has been given much, and he has given much.
I am impressed to say “Thank you, Mr. Herbert Hamilton.” Your bold opposition to discriminatory practices and unfounded prejudices in the America culture have served to establish a sturdy foundation for future generations.
In the Jewish tradition, there are words of wisdom that say, “L dor v dor.” It means that the blessing and anointing will pass from generation to generation.
Mr. Hamilton, you have been obedient and you have done your part.
I just want to say, “Thank you, my brother.” Without the sacrifices of you and others, many of us would not have been able to tread in great territories.
You were department head when I traveled to Russia. That trip was symbolic of what you and others stood for because we personally witnessed a struggle toward a transition to democracy in a country that competed against us in the Space Race.
You were nearby when I had the opportunity to travel with a President of the United States of America. Without your experiences in the jail houses in Harris County, my generation would not have been prepared and bold enough to partake in such a great entourage, traveling from Andrews Air Force Base, in Maryland and to Abuja, Nigeria, to Arusha, Tanzania, and finally to Cairo, Egypt so that President William Jefferson Clinton could talk with Mubarak on Air Force One. Now Egypt is struggling toward its transition to freedom and democracy.
We are all connected according to the poem by John Donne. We are all sojourners in a trail of tears as we pursue even greater accomplishments in the 21st century.
Thank you, Mr. Herbert Willie Hamilton.
Thank you, too, Mr. Al Davis!
Like Raider Nation Times
How Would You Grade the Raiders Live Mock Draft?