4 Questions With Freeman Hrabowski III

One of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People" explains how blacks can excel in math and science.

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TR: What role did your experiences during the civil rights era in segregated Birmingham play in shaping your career and success?

FH: It showed me that the only way I would escape second-class citizenship was to be the best and work twice as hard. There was no place like Sixth Avenue Baptist Church, where we were always getting hugs and applauses while being encouraged to do more. There was no time to be a victim. When I saw and heard leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, I saw educated men who were excellent models of leadership. I wanted to be like them.

Denise Stewart is a freelance writer in Alabama.

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