We all got a good chuckle Wednesday out of General Larry Platt and his Pants on the Ground song. Entertaining as he was, I couldn't help but wonder why the American Idol producers saved the last spot of the show for a 62-year-old guy with a funny song.
Now I think I know.
Take a look at the photograph on the home page of the Civil Rights Veterans Movement website. See the young man on the left, looking directly into the camera? That's Larry Platt, age 16.
"We had come by bus in 1963 to a church in Savannah, Georgia to plan a march to desegregate the city," Platt writes. "Reverend Hosea Williams and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were our leaders. That particular planned march was canceled and we were singing to raise our spirits before returning home."
Platt worked with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Georgia, organizing sit-ins in the South.
He was beaten during the Bloody Sunday march from Selma, Ala., to Montgomery.
He got his nickname, "General," from the Rev. Hosea Williams because of his heroic efforts on behalf of the civil-rights movement.
The Georgia General Assembly proclaimed Sept. 4, 2001, Larry Platt Day in Atlanta, because of "his great energy and commitment to equality and the protection of the innocent and for his outstanding service to the Atlanta community and the citizens of Georgia."
He remains a community activist in the Atlanta area and recently has become known for publicly protesting foreclosures.
If anybody in that Atlanta crowd deserved his 15 minutes of fame on national television, it was Larry Platt.
When he tells you to get your pants off the ground, you'd best listen.