We congratulate: Elisabeth Martin, Miss Kentucky State

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By The Staff

When Shelby County native Elisabeth Martin became the first white woman to be voted  Miss Kentucky State University, her accomplishment was much greater than simply winning a pageant.

Ms. Martin has knocked down a barrier that was in its isolated way was just as steadfast as those broken by Jackie Robinson and Martin Luther King Jr., even if the resistance was not nearly so tragic.

Yes, Ms. Martin won what essentially is a popularity contest, but she won by a great landslide of votes, which was if nothing else a manifest endorsement that a white student now has been accepted fully into the core culture of an historically black university.

For years scholars and athletes have trod that road and had received little but token respect for their courage along the way. Now Ms. Martin will be featured among women of color in national publications and on a national stage. Her story will be used as a lesson for generations.

And we have to be proud of her. She was not afraid to compete, and she had the style and intellect that allowed her to overcome those barriers. It will be exciting to see where the next steps go.

Lead away, Ms. Martin.