One of the attributes of Muhammad Ali that captured my attention as a boy growing up in a farming community in Arkansas was his remarkable courage.
In the 1960s, courage was limited to examples from white America.
Politicians, soldiers, generals and famous athletes were examples of courage.
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Television characters such as Tarzan, Rifleman and Superman made it difficult for many of us to imagine a black super hero.
But Ali’s ascension to the heavyweight crown in 1964, his affiliation with the black-separatist Nation of Islam and his fight with the government over his conscientious objection to joining the military were occasions when he demonstrated a new kind of black courage.
He refused to accept being the people’s champ if it meant being the white man’s Negro.
His willingness to give up his heavyweight belt and the prime years of his boxing career to denounce an America dominated by white supremacy was a moving example of courage.
“You won’t even stand up for me in America and you want me to go somewhere and fight,” he said.
As a Jesus-worshiping black man, I thank God for his use of Ali to improve racial equality in America.
The Rev. Rick Armstrong, Arlington
Fort Worth arts
The Fort Worth Symphony is the heart and soul of downtown Fort Worth.
The musicians have done a great job!
However, because of budget constraints, they are at a risk for yet another pay cut or losing their orchestra altogether.
Without the Fort Worth Symphony, downtown Fort Worth will not be the same.
The symphony lends a great vibrancy to the city.
On days when the symphony is playing, I see many well-dressed people going out to eat and then heading over to the Bass Hall.
It makes downtown look dynamic and exciting, not to mention the number of hospitality jobs that it creates.
The summertime symphony concerts in the Cultural District are something else to look forward to. Only a thriving city has these kinds of concerts.
The decision-makers need to figure out a way to save this orchestra without causing more hardship to the musicians.
Listening to their music inspires people. It makes us want to do more for humankind and helps us connect with each other despite our different backgrounds.
Music is what touches our conscience, and this great orchestra must be preserved in Fort Worth at all costs.
Meena Shah, Arlington
Uber and Lyft
A Thursday story (“Uber, Lyft seek state rules rather than cities”) indicated that Fort Worth may be considering relaxing regulations on taxi companies.
Cities have traditionally regulated taxi companies to protect their residents.
Common carriers such as taxi companies, Uber and Lyft owe a high standard of care to their passengers.
Before Fort Worth or the Texas Legislature craters to Uber or Lyft on criminal background checks for taxi drivers, they should remember the lawsuit against Fort Worth Cab and Baggage.
In 1980 in Fort Worth, taxi driver Robert Leon Jenkins picked up a McAllen mother and two children, drove them to a secluded place, and raped and sodomized her at gunpoint. The children were in the taxi.
Jenkins had multiple convictions, including two for robbery, and was under indictment for aggravated assault.
A Fort Worth jury found the taxi company negligent and grossly negligent in failing to conduct a criminal background check and hiring Jenkins.
In 1987, the Texas Supreme Court affirmed the $4.7 million jury verdict for negligence and gross negligence in hiring Jenkins without a criminal background check.