Undoubtedly you’ve heard about the untimely passing of the former Apple CEO, Steve Jobs. In addition, we lost 3 other men that were just as important. It’s understandable why Steve’s death made the biggest media splash. He has changed the way we communicate and work. And I’m going to illustrate that all 4 of these men made very important contributions to American history. Normally, I try to keep these blog posts to 400 words or so, this one is long but it’s worth it. Keep reading.
Within 72 hours death claimed the lives of 4 men that we owe a huge debt of gratitude. I’m not ranking them in order importance because it’s unfair, subjective and disrespectful.
October 2011, will be a month to remember. On the 5th, we learned that Steve Jobs has died, but also on that same day we lost Fred Shuttlesworth, and Derrick Bell. As if that wasn’t enough, on the 8th Al Davis passed away. In my research, I noticed that beyond them all passing so closely together, they had similar leadership qualities. Here’s some information on all 4 men.
Al Davis – NFL Legend, he was a scout, an assistant, head coach, general manager and became owner of the Oakland Raiders. Known for his passion to win, he coined the phrase “Just Win Baby” and he did. He brought 3 Super Bowl Championships to the franchise. John Madden was a coach under Davis, you know of Madden, E.A. Sports video game fame. Al hired the 1st black coach (Art Shell), the 1st Latino coach (Tom Flores), and the 1st female CEO (Amy Trask) in the NFL. I don’t even need to explain why that’s important.
Derrick Bell – 1st Black tenured Harvard University School of Law Professor, 1st Black dean of the University Of Oregon School Of Law. He worked with Thurgood Marshall. He worked for the U.S. Department of Justice and when they learned he was a member of the NAACP, they asked him to withdraw his membership, but instead he left the Department of Justice. That would not be the only time he quit a prestigious job for what he believed in. He also left Harvard because they didn’t hire an African American female; he left Oregon because a lack of diversity on their faculty staff. He risked his career for equality.
Fred Shuttlesworth – Civil Rights pioneer, Co-founder of Southern Christian Leadership Conference & Reverend. Shuttlesworth urged Dr. King and Andrew Young to come to Birmingham to help with what he called “One of the most segregated cities in America.” As a Civil Rights leader in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s he has been through a lot; including some attempts on his life. The Klu Klux Khan put 16 sticks of dynamite by his bedroom window (you read correctly SIXTEEN) the house was destroyed but somehow he survived unharmed.
Steve Jobs – Innovative technological genius, Inventor, CEO of Apple Inc. Steve dropped out of College and worked with a partner to create Apple Computers. He turned that into a business relationship Lucas Films LTD, and bought the computer graphic division now known as Pixar Studios. That’s the animated film studio responsible for the “Toy Story” and “Cars” franchises. He returned to Apple where he developed new products like the IPod, IPhone and IPad. Steve changed the world with his philosophy of “Make a dent in the universe.”
I hope the relationship to work is apparent here. These men were all leaders. They were pioneers of their time. They were innovators. They had power and know how to use it. They made sacrifices. They had passion. They were fighters. They changed the world around them and because of their efforts we are all beneficiaries. They’re the kind of leaders that you are proud to say you have worked with. They are truly immortal. Rest in Peace.