Fallen Giants, Remembering Legacies Of Greatness
Posted by Dawnavette
As a southern woman, growing up the older folks in my communities used to say that “death, comes in 3’s” meaning that when one person dies, there’s often two more deaths to be expected. Three giants in American history, Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, Derrick Bell, and Steve Jobs, all passed away on October 5,2011. While completely unrelated passing, similar aspects of their character demonstrated in life bound them in life’s passionate example. They taught that it is not enough to have the vision, but to follow-through with execution ensuring it benefits others… that is truly purposeful living.
A testament to the life beyond the limits of initial circumstance, Steve Jobs, a technological genius and pop culture icon, was a creative spirit. Overcoming poor odds to ultimately leave pieces of his legacy in gadgets across the globe, forever ingrained in daily lives (who doesn’t own/ hasn’t used an Apple product?!) is the testament of his purpose. Jobs’ innovative thought, unshakeable belief in himself, his ideas and imagination, will forever live on in his companies, future technologies, and contributions to film and art.
Few words can express gratitude for the life’s work of Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, whose sacrifices improved conditions for future generations. Had it not been for his unwavering tenacity and strategic planning of the Civil Rights movement, Black (and brown) people would not have the right to walk into any Apple store in the country receiving equal treatment as white citizens. Rev. Shuttlesworth (and other men & women organizers of the Civil Rights Movement) suffered countless beatings and was arrested over 40 times, all in the name of equal rights. He continued to spread his message of equality to younger generations through activism and public speaking, carrying out his life’s purpose till death.
Derrick Bell, a prominent lawyer and scholar was the first Black tenured law professor at Harvard University. Credited as the pioneer of critical race theory, he is infamous for taking stands against racial injustice and fair hiring practices throughout (ivy league) higher education. Bell often wrote about his personal conflict with his passion and purpose but realized the cause was bigger than himself stating, “I cannot continue to urge students to take risks for what they believe if I do not practice my own precepts.”
And there is still much to be done. Today/ this weekend we celebrate the 90th birthday of Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, another Civil Rights Pioneer whose life sacrifices improved the quality of life for millions. To believe in something so passionately that no circumstance, inclusive of death, will prevent pursuit of making the dream a reality, that is what life is about. Discovering one’s purpose and serving others just as Shuttlesowrth, Bell, and Jobs exemplified. Though no longer living, we should be inspired to make the most of our time remaining, never giving up on our dreams, and work tirelessly to leave the world in a better place than when we arrived. I salute these fallen giants in American history, and hope that one day my legacy can positively impact others.