Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. Former National Baseball League player, Jackie Robinson with his son., 08 28 1963
Source of Public Domain Photograph: By U.S. Information Agency. Press and Publications Service. (ca. 1953 – ca. 1978), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10525088
When Branch Rickey, the general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, set about choosing a black baseball player to integrate the major leagues, he knew that he needed a tough player who could perform well under pressure — both as a player and as a man. He talked to Jackie Robinson and explained that he would have to ignore racists for three years, but after that time, he could act as he pleased. Before the three years had passed, however, a fight with a racist would set integration back because Mr. Robinson would be blamed for the fight. To test Mr. Robinson, Mr. Rickey called him racist names for three straight hours. Mr. Robinson asked, “Mr. Rickey, are you looking for a Negro who is afraid to fight back?” Mr. Rickey replied, “I’m looking for a ballplayer with guts enough not to fight back.” Mr. Robinson integrated major league baseball, and he avoided fights for the necessary three years.
When track star Jesse Owens attended Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, in the 1930s, of the school’s 14,000 students, only about 100 were African-American. Because he was black, he was not allowed to live on-campus; instead, he and the other African-American students lived in an off-campus boarding house. According to Mr. Owens’ teammate, Charles Beetham, many restaurants and theaters in Columbus would not serve blacks. While traveling to compete, Mr. Owens had to eat in his room, as the hotel would not serve him in its coffee shop or restaurant. In addition, he could not compete in the South because blacks were not allowed to compete against whites there.
For a while, architect Julia Morgan worked for John Galen Howard, but she was determined to leave his employ and open her own office, especially after she learned that Mr. Howard was telling people that she was a wonderful architect and he had to pay her nearly nothing — because she was a woman. After she quit, he became her enemy, and for 25 years he kept her from getting commissions to design buildings at the University of California, of whose building project he was the supervising architect. In her 47-year career, Ms. Morgan found work anyway, and her name is on over 700 buildings.
In 1931, 17-year-old Jackie Mitchell became the first woman to sign with a men’s professional team when she joined the minor-league Chattanooga Lookouts. In early April of 1931, she pitched in an exhibition game against the New York Yankees and struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, both of whom are now in the Baseball Hall of Fame. After the game, the baseball commissioner cancelled her contract because he didn’t think women ought to be allowed to play professional baseball.
When Muriel W., a lesbian, was in high school, her first close friend was a girl named Millie. Once, Millie was missing for a couple of days, and Muriel discovered that she was absent from school because of a Jewish holiday. Muriel had not realized that Millie was Jewish before, and that got her thinking about all the things that ignorant people say about people of other races, religions, or creeds. She felt that Millie was just like her, with many ideas in common, so she lost her prejudice fast.
Many people fear AIDS. Carmine Buete was a 10-year-old boy suffering from AIDS who lived with his grandmother near New Year City. After some of the friends of his grandmother discovered that he had AIDS, they refused to talk to her anymore. Because of that experience, Carmine and his grandmother soon learned not to tell many people that he had AIDS. Before he died, one of Carmine’s favorite toys was an E.T. doll that made him feel better when he was ill.
Blues singer William “Big Bill” Lee Conley Broonzy was born during the days of Jim Crow, and all of his family suffered from prejudice. His grandmother was a mulatto, and when she married a black man, her family wanted nothing to do with her. When Big Bill was a boy, he used to walk her to church, but he couldn’t go inside because his skin wasn’t light enough. Instead, he waited outside for church to end, and then he walked his grandmother home.
Golfer Tiger Woods is one-quarter black, one-quarter Thai, one-quarter Chinese, one-eighth Native American, and one-eighth Caucasian. Because he is a member of several minorities, he received a death threat when he played in his first professional tournament. When he won the 1997 Master’s Tournament, no other player had — or needed — security guards, but Tiger was under the protection of six security guards.
People with mentally retardation are sometimes victims of prejudice. Louise Fish, who lives in Minnesota, became mentally retarded as a result of having meningitis as a baby. At school, other students sometimes hit her or pulled her hair, but she wouldn’t cry until she got home. Some people, including her brother Matt, stood up for her. When people made fun of Leslie, Matt would explain why she was different.
In 1993, Marion Phillips participated in a panel discussion that included women who were among the first women to become lawyers. Marion Phillips said that after she graduated and got a job as a lawyer, she tried to make herself less attractive so she would fit in better. It didn’t work — the men she worked with all called her “Girlie” or “Sweetheart.”
A homophobe once said to lesbian comedian Judy Carter, “All homosexuals are going to hell.” She replied, “If there aren’t going to be gays in heaven, I’d like to know where you are going to get your hair done. Heaven is going to be one bad hair day after the next!”
When Martin Luther King, Jr, was a child, he was in a car when his father was pulled over by a police officer, who said, “All right, boy….” Before the police officer could say anything else, King, Sr., said, “I’m no boy.” He then pointed to his son and said, “This is a boy. I am a man.”
Albert Asriyan was an Armenian songwriter whose songs were heard often on television in the Soviet Union. However, because of prejudice against the Armenians, Mr. Asriyan’s name sometimes did not appear on the credits of the television programs featuring his music.
A rabbi asked a black teenager if he was Jewish. The teenager replied, “Haven’t I got enough trouble just being black?”
NOTE: Anecdotes are not always funny. They can simply be short, interesting stories.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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