The book is a labor of love. The biography of a humble 1960s Texas Civil Rights Activist who integrated Southwestern Bell/AT&T, my father, Rev. Dr. L.E. Bennett
Diamonds are made from great pressure. Pressure is something that Rev. Dr. L.E. Bennett knew well. I have immense love and adoration for this man, and I must tell his story.
It was the 1950s and 1960s, and the war against racism and inequality in America was raging. Not much different than today. While the battle was mostly taken up by African-Americans, all people would eventually be challenged to take a stand—to not allow hatred and injustice to continue.
One such warrior was L.E. Bennett, a humble civil rights activist from Texas who went from serving as a janitor at Southwestern Bell/AT&T to president of the Colored People’s Union, to achieving second-line district-management directly under the vice-president in the Missouri home office. His management extended over five states, with ten managers and multi-employees under him in the immediate office alone. He fought systematic bigotry and successfully integrated the business—putting his life and the life of his family at risk in the process.
Robert Kennedy (RFK) and Martin Luther King (MLK) encouraged Bennett, and he received certificates from the National Association for Advancement of Colored People, (NAACP) signed by Roy Wilkins, Rev. C.D. Owens and W.C. Patton. Bennett also received media coverage and an award from Wall of Tolerance signed by Rosa Parks, among others.
At the time, anyone who was Black, Hispanic, Latino, Jewish, Indian, or any mixed race was considered a person of color. Disrespectful ethnophaulic (slurs) were constantly used against "colored people" (as is still the case in far too many places): Negro, Nigger, Coon, Darky, dirty Jew, dog, Ali Baba, Russian pig, Wetback, Camel Jockey, Chee-chee, Savage, Redskins, Mulatto etc.
Bennett pledged to do his part to fight racism and inequality after hearing JFK speak at the Alamo with Lyndon B. Johnson during their cross-country presidential campaign. JFK’s words rang in Bennett's ears, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Bennett's path was set.