The following is a result of more than a few minutes of soul searching. I am plagued with a few issues relative to the Super Bowl that I would like to weigh in on. However I have been reminded that everybody with a computer or typewriter has voiced an opinion or weighed in on the results. And, as a change of pace for the readers, I should continue on with the early life journey of my pop, Sam Lacy.
The issue with Jackie Robinson was settled as far as Major League Baseball was concerned. Now the problem that loomed on the horizon was how to deal with this situation. As an African-American publication, Pop’s boss Dr. Carl Murphy figured The AFRO had the inside track. Therefore, he assigned Pop to shadow Jackie on the road while he made the adjustment.
There were no other colored players on the team, so Pop became Jackie’s roommate on the road. The doors to spring training camp opened and Pop and Jackie set up housekeeping. Soon it became necessary for the road experiment to be tested. The team had other spring training games with other teams.
These games provided entertainment for locals wherever the team went, but the housing situation for Pop and Jackie was another story. They stayed with families in approved homes. In my thinking this was partially responsible for the popularity of the bed and breakfast. Having a roof over their heads was only a partial solution for the problem. The south is the south, and prejudice is going to rear its ugly head when a person of color garners space in the local newspaper and hasn’t committed a crime. Pop and Jackie were reminded of this when they emerged from the house in the morning to find a charred cross on the lawn. The Klan had paid a visit during the night.
When the team visited Pelican Stadium in St. Louis, he and Jackie were denied entrance to the stadium by this gargantuan policeman. Not to be denied, they patrolled the outfield fence until they found a loose plank that provided them entrance into the park. There was a bit of grumbling from the fans until Pee Wee Reece (a popular southern boy, and standout player) walked over to Jackie and placed his arm around Jackie’s shoulders in a friendly embrace.
The following year the Dodgers signed Roy Campanella, Don Newcombe and Dan Bankhead. This rooming arrangement left Pop the odd man out. Although the teams were still not able to house the colored players in hotels, the approved homes situation seemed to be accommodating enough.
On one trip, Pop found himself boarded with a White family. His discomfort was difficult for him to hide, but the people seemed to be nice enough. He ate his meals out, and when he returned to bed down for the night he breathed a sigh of relief that the family had already retired. Just before he fell asleep, he felt this form join him in bed.
I will let you stew on that until my next entry.
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