Larry Thornton’s In The Game … ‘So Why Not Win?’

Published 6:13 pm Monday, February 6, 2023

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Larry Thornton, Sr.  pulled a chair away from the table at the Lamar P. Higgins Ballrooms on the campus of Troy University. He sat down with the greeting, “Why not win? You’re in the game, so why not win?”

Thornton was at Troy University as the keynote speaker at the Opening General Session of the John Robert Lewis Leadership Conference on Friday night, February 3, at the university’s Trojan Center.

Thornton is president and owner of Thornton, Inc., a McDonald’s Franchisee.  He is also an artist and an author of “Why Not Win?”

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Thornton grew up in segregated Montgomery during the 1960s as a desegregation school pioneer.

As a high school student, he didn’t have a can-do attitude; not until an English teacher saw the potential in him and challenged him to greater thinking and “winning in life.”

“But for a teacher…” Thornton said. “But for her, I don’t know where I would be today.”

The teacher’s words to him had probably been spoken to many students before, but, for Larry Thornton, who was failing in the classroom, they were life changing.

“My teacher said, ‘Why don’t you go to college?’” Thornton said. “I had never thought of college and I, certainly, had never believed I had value. College?  Her encouragement changed my thoughts in a positive way– in a life-changing way.”

Inspired and motivated by a teacher’s words, Thornton did not let his brown skin keep him from striving to emerge from life’s struggles as a winner.

As an adult, Thornton became a classroom teacher but lost that opportunity due to budget cuts. He used his artistic abilities to paint small signs for Coca –Cola. He later served as advertising manager and director of business management for Birmingham Coca-Cola. He serves on the on the board of directors for Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc.

Thornton has received many awards and recognitions that are stepping stones for a man, who is in the game of life, “to win.”