Mr. John Lewis

You were my high school English Teacher, my wrestling coach, my first Black male teacher, my only black male coach and the first person that ever took me a nice restaurant.  You were the first really positive image of a black man that I had.  You were the reason I was able to begin the long and arduous journey from the chagrin and self-loathing that was being black in the heartland of Ike and Maine’s America to self-love and acceptance.

Retrospectively understanding, the tremendous racial discrimination and career obstruction you endured at Dowagiac Union High, I have even greater respect for you.  You didn’t need DUHS, but DUHS needed you, and you knew that, so you stayed on.  It was kind of like “To Sir With Love”.  Thank you for being the greatest wrestling coach, ever. Thank you for having that great Afro that everybody loved.  Thank you for letting me drive your cool car. Thank you for planting the notion of dignity in me. Oh and when I had to wrestle Olympic Heavy Weight, Chris Taylor at the AAU tournament in Grand Rapids—I apologize for being so terrified that I kept running off the mat.