The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Sports

August 31, 2013

Must-see documentary tells story of Ala. sports in Civil Rights era

If your interests lean toward American history and college sports, a recently released documentary about the Civil Rights era in Alabama and the vaunted Crimson Tide football program is a must-see.

Paul Finebaum, the noted Southern author and sports commentator, had this to say about “Three Days at Foster,” a reference to the name of an auditorium on the Alabama campus.

“Simply an unforgettable film . . . (writer-director) Keith Dunnavant has taken one of the seminal moments in the Civil Rights movement and peeled off a new layer that is both haunting and gut-wrenching,” the new ESPN sports figure wrote.

There are many levels to the piece, but in the end it tells the story of the clash between Gov. George Wallace’s segregationist beliefs, ones shared by many in the Deep South, and sweeping changes affecting college football and Alabama’s love for the Crimson Tide. The passions of race and rivalries were on a collision course where there would be no easy resolution to an accepted way of life in the Heart of Dixie.

Football teams across the land had begun recruiting black athletes to their teams, but in Wallace’s state, the governor was hard at work keeping black students out of classrooms on the Tuscaloosa campus. The showdown came on June 11, 1963, when Wallace blocked two black students from enrolling for classes at Foster Auditorium until federal troops cleared a way to a registration table inside the gym.

That historical event also turned out to be a triggering moment for the integration of the University of Alabama sports programs and furthered a change in the land’s social, political and cultural fabric that to this day is both amazing as well as revolutionary.

Much of Dunnavant’s work deals with legendary Alabama coach Paul W. “Bear” Bryant and the earliest black players, many of whom were mere footnotes in history, and how they came to join the once all-white team. They weren’t the famous All-Americans that would wear the crimson jersey in years to come, but guys who liked the game and didn’t see why the color of their skin should disqualify them. There was Dock Rone and Andrew Pernell and Arthur Dunning -- maybe not huge physical specimens by today’s standards, but gritty athletes who could play.

Text Only
Sports
  • River Hawks win triangular CLINTON -- Cration Andresen claimed medalist honors and teammate Logan Wilhelm took second Thursday as they led Easton Valley to first place at a boys golf triangular hosted by Camanche at The Oaks Golf Course. Easton Valley finished with a 190-strok

    April 19, 2014

  • White Sox whipped by Texas Rangers ARLINGTON, Texas -- Martin Perez turned toward first base, waiting for the call he hoped was coming. When the umpire's arm went up signaling a strikeout on Dayan Viciedo's check-swing with a full count, the young Texas Rangers left-hander pumped his

    April 19, 2014

  • L'Kings keep Hot Rods cold BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- There's nothing like jumping on a team when it's down, and the Clinton LumberKings did just that Friday night. For the second night in a row, the LumberKings used a five-run inning to take a victory at Bowling Green Ballpark, th

    April 19, 2014

  • Saints split on the road CEDAR RAPIDS -- Ashford split a pair of lopsided softball games on the road Friday. The Saints beat Mount Mercy 14-2 in the first game of the doubleheader, but the Mustangs came back to take the second game 9-1 in five innings. Special to the Herald

    April 19, 2014

  • Cubs drop fifth straight CHICAGO -- Jeff Samardzija has had a hard time finding run support this season. The same could be said for all Chicago Cubs' pitchers. First, the good news: Chicago managed to break a 24-inning scoreless streak. And then, the usual dose of bad news:

    April 19, 2014

  • 4-19-14 1B-Photo, Fulton catch HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL Hall halts Steamers FULTON, Ill. -- Fulton knew it had its hands full heading into Friday's baseball game against Hall. After all, the Red Devils entered the game with an 8-1 record, and they had momentum after blanking Rockridge the day before. Fulton fell to Hall 5-2

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Shutout gives Ashford split CLINTON - Kevin Delzell's strong pitching helped Ashford come away with a split as it began its final home weekend of the season with a split against Clarke in college baseball Friday afternoon at Ashford University Field. Ashford got a strong pitchi

    April 19, 2014

  • 4-18-14 1C-Photo, Blackhawks Blackhawks start blue in Cup defense ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues went the distance, and then some, to get the jump on the defending Stanley Cup champions. Alexander Steen scored at 26 seconds of the third overtime to cap the longest playoff game in franchise history and give the Bl

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • River Kings light up the Day DAVENPORT -- Clinton continued its strong season in boys track and field, taking first place Thursday at the Jesse Day Relays on the final day of qualifying for the Drake Relays. The River Kings scored 138 points. Solon edged Davenport Central 120-11

    April 18, 2014

  • 4-18-14 3C-Photo, Rasche Clinton tennis splits with Muscatine CLINTON -- The Clinton tennis team faced Muscatine at Max Lynn Tennis Complex on Thursday where it was a tale of two duals. The girls' team won 9-0 over the Muskies while the River Kings fell 8-1. Queens sail in sweep In the six singles matches, not

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

High School Sports