At the the age of about 10, I was riding somewhere with my father in his pickup. He always had a pickup, even in the early 50s, as he was in construction. He was a superintendent of a big firm by then. He had begun as a laborer, and worked his way up. As we talked I quoted my mother on the subject of "Negroes". (That's what they were called then.) I stated something very derogatory. He looked over at me, then calmly pulled the pickup over to the curb. He looked at me for a while and then said again, calmly, yet firmly, "Never judge people by the color of their skin or origin of birth. I have worked with many men over time and I tell you this from experience. The character is the important part of a man. Never forget it. Your mother is wrong in this."
These words were said to me way before most of us were aware of Martin Luther King. The words have stayed with me ever since. My father died in 1958 at age 44 so I never knew him as an adult but if that is all I got. It is plenty. He was a great parent.