We in Oklahoma recently lost a great man. While his passing was quiet and peaceful, his life was not quiet, but it was indeed peaceful as a warrior for the civil rights movement in Oklahoma.
Senator E. Melvin Porter passed away in his home at age 86. Its not really important how he died. It is very important, however, how he lived.
He was a man of peace, but a ferocious advocate for civil right, marching with Dr. Martin Luther King and Clara Luper in Oklahoma for racial equality in the 60s. This was after he was admitted into the first class at Vanderbilt Law School admitting blacks graduating with honors in 1959 and the first black senator elected to serve in Oklahoma in 1964. He fought to include black history in school textbooks in the state, was president of the local NAACP, a prominent attorney representing folks who couldn’t afford an attorney and was the father of 7 children, all of whom have grown into successful and charming adults, just like their father.
As I set with hundreds at his funeral last Saturday, I was struck with the amount of love and respect that members of our community had for this wonderful man. He made a difference. He did it by a show of respect for his fellow man, his respect for the law, his respect for the constitution and his respect for what it meant to be a father of his children. I’m certain that he had his flaws, much like we all do. However, at the moment of his final respects, those flaws were not mentioned. Only those kind and historically meaningful and inspiring deeds demonstrated by this great man were highlighted, as was proper.
Most important in the Senator’s life is his legacy of inspiration and of peaceful change in the face of resistance serves as a challenge to us all as well as his responsibility as a father actively raising 7 children.
I left with the inspiration that we all have a limited opportunity to make a difference while we are here. What kind of difference we make is a measure of our integrity and character.
For more about this great man, please google E. Melvin Porter. He is truly inspirational.
Thank you for being part of Oklahoma, Senator Porter! Thank you for your inspiration of hope and your light to this world.