The City of Glen Cove lost a community activist two weeks ago. Lester Miller, a true gentleman with an unwavering commitment to civil rights, died just moments before he was to attend the NAACP 100th anniversary celebration. As someone who had many conversations with him, I would like to share some memories.
Through the years Mr. Miller, sporting his trademark hat and using his soft, determined voice, advocated for the civil rights of our city's African -American men and women of all ages. A decade ago, Mr. Miller worked tirelessly to ensure our school district's principals and administrators were a reflection of our student body. He emphasized that the potential candidates for these positions were qualified, African- American individuals who would also serve as role models for our students. He succeeded. Mr. Miller held numerous voter registration drives. He maintained a strong position with regard to the availability of safe, affordable housing for the working poor of our city. Besides his leadership role as the president of the Glen Cove Chapter NAACP, Mr. Miller was a member of the Glen Cove Lions Club, Kiwanis and the Glen Cove Senior Citizen Advisory Board.
The last time I saw him was this past Election Day at the Glen Cove Boys and Girls Club. Needless to say, Mr. Miller was filled with excitement and emotion at the prospect that our nation could possibly have an African- American president before the night was over. Here was a man from Mississippi who knew firsthand the anguish of racial discrimination but never stopped believing that through hard work and persistence something that was only imaginable would some day be realized.
I am honored to have known him. Glen Cove is blessed to have had someone like Lester Miller as its conscience. We owe it to his legacy to continue his good work.