Apple CEO Tim Cook isn’t known for talking much about himself, but in a speech this week, he talked about some of the early childhood experiences that shape his passions around fighting for human rights and equality.
“Growing up in Alabama in the 1960s, I saw the devastating impacts of discrimination,” Cook said, accepting a lifetime achievement award from Auburn University, his alma mater. “Remarkable people were denied opportunities and treated without basic human dignity, solely because of the color of their skin.”
He talked about seeing a cross-burning at the home of a nearby family.
“This image was permanently imprinted in my brain, and it would change my life forever,” Cook said. “For me, the cross-burning was a symbol of ignorance, of hatred, and a fear of anyone different than the majority. I could never understand it ,and I knew then that America’s and Alabama’s history would always be scarred by the hatred that it represented.”