One African-American pioneer remembers another
The third Monday in January is observed as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States. Dr. King was an important figure in the civil rights movement in the southern United States throughout the 1950s and 1960s. He was one of the leaders in the struggle to achieve equality for African-Americans in the United States, and was the youngest man to ever receive the Nobel Peace Prize when he was given the award in 1964. With all that Dr. King achieved, his famous "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963 will forever be remembered as one of the most important addresses in American history.
WWE's Ron Simmons is an African-American pioneer in his own right. In August 1992, Simmons defeated Vader to become the first black World Champion in sports-entertainment history. Since then, men like King Booker and Bobby Lashley have followed down the path he first tread, and Simmons credits Dr. King as a role model he looked up to while blazing that path.
"It's no secret what black people have had to overcome in this country. The strides that we've made are due to pioneers like Dr. King that paved the way for my generation," Simmons said. "I am very honored to have had someone like that to watch as me and my generation grew up, to watch him do what he did to enable me to achieve what I have in sports-entertainment and in life."
In 2007, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day falls exactly on his birth date (Jan. 15); on what would have been Dr. King's 78th birthday, Simmons summed up the importance of the holiday for himself and other African-Americans in one simple phrase:
"It means everything in the world to me."