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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Life Lesson

From "The Wisdom of Wooden"--

Dad said,"Son, don't ever think you're better than somebody else, but never forget you're just as good as anybody. No better, but just as good." That is how he taught me about equality. Blacks, whites, men, women- everybody equal. He was pretty advanced.

When a committee in 1947 invited my Indiana State Sycamores (he was coaching) to a big playoff tourney in Kansas City but told me I couldn't bring Clarence Walker (an African-American player) along, I refused to go. The next year I turned them down again. The tournament committee relented. Clarence broke the color barrier in whites-only tournaments.

- John Wooden

My commentary- We don't think of open segregation as a northern thing in the 1940's. My father told of having an African-American on his Savanna team in the 1940's. When they would stop to get a meal after games on road trips, my father would go into the restaurant first to make sure they would serve a Black in their restaurant. If the restaurant would not serve Blacks, then the team would continue on. Sometimes the team would have to return home to eat. And this was in small town northern Illinois!

1 comment:

  1. We have come a long way, yet some people still have far to go. There was an incident at a summer game last year where an adult from Farmington was loudly using the "N" word while describing some of our girls on the floor. It is so sad that we still have racial issues (even in the North).