Journalistic features often reveal a treasured creative epiphany
By Derek Joy
What a Christmas present and very special way to end the year.
That’s precisely what it was for Rashad Flanders, Dantrel Horne, Jerrill Jenkins and John Lamour.
Their story was reported in the Miami Herald by Kathleen McGrory and given broadcast perspective by WFOR/CBS 4 Morning News Co-Anchor Summer Knowles.
The story was about four Miami Northwestern High School student athletes playing college football at Mayville State College in Mayville, North Dakota. It struck a chord of kinship in several ways.
Look at it as a journalistic work of art that unfolded as a literary epiphany for Flanders, Horne, Jenkins and Lamour. Four kids from Liberty City playing college football in rural North Dakota.
It was definitely an awakening for them; something I ex-perienced while serving in the United States Air Force, stationed at Minot AFB, North Dakota. This Liberty City graduate of Miami Northwestern had a real awakening when I arrived there in 1966.
Like those four, the product of the inner city, I grew into manhood in a city and state where Black Americans are few in number. Believe it or not, both Miami, Fla., and Minot, North Dakota are hailed as the Magic City.
My first child – Derek – was born there. Deron, Dana and Tekeima were born in Miami. Four student -athletes in the story. Four children for me. Real interesting link.
Equally interesting is that each of those student -athletes will never see life the same. For sure, they will never see their home-town in the same light. It wasn’t upon my return, nor is it now.
Yes, there were two Black American chartered residents when North Dakota achieved statehood. That is a fact that escapes many. The very existence of North Dakota also escapes the attention of many, especially inner city kids.
But these four dared the risk. They accepted the athletic scholarship in a state that may as well have been a foreign country. Their growth in life, the classroom and the football field improved the odds for a successful life.
Without a doubt, they have gained an expanded perspective of life, which comes with the culture shock. An environment with snow and sub- zero temperatures, where people of color are limited in number.
Indeed, an awakening people accustomed to Florida’s tropical climate. From a high school and a community with a Black American majority to a college and a community with a an Anglo majority is an awakening, too.
But more than anything, Flanders Horne, Jenkins and Lamour are sure of a better way of life than what surrounded them in their childhood neighborhood.
It is a different kind of survival that helps make them stronger, more determined to succeed in life. That is what such experiences will do for you. Another Bull experienced a similar transition.
Telly Lockette; a stellar four year running back at Miami Northwestern, journey with teammate Alfredo Anderson to Idaho State University.
Lockette, now an assistant coach (running backs) at South Florida University, serving as the offensive coordinator for the Bulls in a championship season, later guided the Miami Central Rockets to two Florida State High School Class 6A Championships on three consecutive appearances in the State Finals.
So, you see, that journalistic work of art can and does reveal a literary epiphany.