It seems like only yesterday when I was a kid in Omaha working at the Omaha theater as an usher for the first time and Jimmy Hall, a star halfback on our football team, came in with his mother.
I greeted him warmly and the doorman came over when they started forward. “Kindly take the stairway to your right, please,” he said gently. They nodded and started upstairs. The doorman turned to me and said: “Don’t ever forget those words when Negroes come in.”
Jimmy smiled as he saw my predicament. “That’s OK, Howie, we like it up in the balcony. It’s good exercise.”
Jobs were tough then, so I didn’t quit. But it was not “OK” and I never forgot it. Not when I saw it practiced in sports, in restaurants, on streetcars, in job discrimination, in fraternities and sororities, in the military during WWII, in lodges and clubs. It sucked!
I fought discrimination in high school, unions, college, the Army, country clubs, service clubs and on every newspaper I worked for.
I became a Republican — a Lincoln Republican — and that is what the Republican Party stands for, so far as I am concerned. Even though I love John McCain, I still can’t help but be proud of a nation that has demonstrated against all odds that the words “equal opportunity” have a greater meaning in the United States of America than anywhere else.
Democracy, American style, has given the world a real example of how we have changed. Let’s get behind President Obama and get through the challenges that we all face.
— Contact columnist Howard Schonberger at 378-5696 or firstname.lastname@example.org