That's right: General Larry Platt isn't just a wannabe American Idol, he's a bona fide American hero. The man was even honored with his own holiday in Atlanta, Larry Platt Day, on September 4, 2001, for his "priceless and immeasurable contributions to society" and "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."
Platt was actually a student of Martin Luther King Jr. back in the day, which makes the timing of his sudden fame quite interesting, given that next Monday is MLK Day. In the early '60s when he was only 16 (see the 16-year-old Platt in the photograph here; he's the one on the far left), he worked with activist groups like the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and Southern Christian Leadership Conference to fight racial segregation in the South. He was even beaten while participating in the infamous "Bloody Sunday" protest march from Selma to Montgomery in Alabama.
During that time, according to an article in USA Today about the unlikely "overnight celebrity," Platt actually got his "General" nickname from prominent civil rights leader Reverend Hosea Williams, who was impressed by his valiant efforts. The General remains a community activist to this day, working with the United Youth Adult Conference (a volunteer organization set up to find missing children in the Atlanta area) and fighting public foreclosures.
Plus, admit it: "Pants On The Ground" is a darn good song. Really, every day should be Larry Platt Day.
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