The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

August 31, 2013

Doc tells story of Alabama sports in Civil Rights era

(Continued)

They weren’t scholarship guys, just walk-ons who weren’t afraid of walking into a previously all-white locker room. Talk about courage. None ever made it into a regular season game, although two did play in a spring scrimmage – a point some may see as trivial, but an achievement that truly wasn’t.

Their efforts – and perhaps awareness by Bryant that Alabama’s competitiveness on the national stage was threatened – led to changes. The introduction of black players to the team proved at least two things: They could play and they could be teammates.

Getting fans across the state to accept it, however, would be another obstacle. But as former Alabama sports information director Kirk McNair said, “Those old rednecks wouldn’t challenge Coach Bryant.” When it came to powerbases in Alabama, there was Bryant and there was Wallace, and the governor knew not to tangle with the Bear.

Actually, it was basketball coach C.M. Newton who signed Wendell Hudson in 1969 to an athletic scholarship, the school’s first to an African-American. Recruiting a black player had Bryant’s blessing. Later that year, assistant coach Pat Dye convinced Wilbur Jackson, a running back from Birmingham, that Alabama was right for him and he was right for Alabama. Assuring Jackson’s parents was a tougher assignment, but Dye proved persuasive. The Tide had turned.

The informative and captivating documentary features dozens of interviews with coaches, players, sports writers and even a cheerleader, each adding valuable insight and detail. The name – “Three Days at Foster” – refers to separate events: The Wallace-staged blockade, a gripping story about a black high school basketball player from Huntsville who leads his team to a state championship in a hostile environment, and a late-in-life moment where Jackson returns to campus with his daughter.

The documentary lasts about 80 minutes and can be rented online for $4.95, through an Internet film service called Vimeo on Demand.

It’s a championship effort by Dunnavant, who allows “Three Days at Foster” to expose dark times in Tuscaloosa that ultimately give way to a brighter day, not only for a team but a state.

Tom Lindley is a sports columnist for the CNHI News Service. Reach him at tlindley@cnhi.com.

Text Only
Opinion
  • Off and on the record Let us now praise anonymous sources.The new White House press secretary got into a familiar old spat with the White House press corps the other day over the use of anonymous sources.Josh Earnest — has there ever been a more perfectly named White Hous

    July 25, 2014

  • Be more informed

    Blame the city.That is a favorite pastime of many, including me at times. Driving over that pesky pothole or paying that annual property tax bill can lead to some choice words referencing the city. Nobody takes the brunt of being the scapegoat more t

    July 25, 2014

  • CCC thanks community, collaborators for successful movie night Clinton Community College would like to thank those who participated in the free outdoor movie showing of “Captain America – Winter Soldier” on the evening of Friday, July 18.We are grateful to have such wonderful community collaborators in the Erick

    July 25, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Todd Akin's back again to talk of rape So, Todd Akin is back and he’s talking rape again.You remember what happened last time. The would-be Missouri senator torpedoed his campaign two years ago after suggesting in a TV interview that if a woman is a victim of “legitimate rape,” she is unl

    July 22, 2014

  • Sadness remains as two-year mark passes in cousins' case As most citizens of the Cedar Valley are well aware, July 13 marked two years since the disappearance of cousins Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook-Morrissey of Evansdale.The passage of time provides some semblance of healing, but the sadness, particul

    July 22, 2014

  • UI needs to keep its admission standards high There’s been a lot of talk lately — most of it coming from the leadership of the Iowa state Board of Regents — about the University of Iowa not being passionate enough about its recruitment of in-state undergraduates. Regent president Bruce Rastetter

    July 21, 2014

  • Vote fraud myths meet voting rights reality Before she was allowed to register and vote for the first time in Franklin County, North Carolina, Rosanell Eaton had to read the entire preamble to the U.S. Constitution out loud in front of three men in the county courthouse.Eaton is black. The thr

    July 21, 2014 1 Story

  • 7-21-14 David Helscher mug Prepare for possible effects of Fed's decisions It has been more than 5 years since the Federal Reserve has taken unprecedented steps to support the economy through purchases of Treasury and mortgage-backed debt securities. This has generally been called quantitative easing and has not been withou

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook