Feb. 10, 2016

Can I Get Just A Little Justice and Equality For This Here Gold Medal

In my lifetime the champs I’ve seen both black and regal hardly were treated in this nation like they were legal. These brothers and sisters while soaking in the world’s greatness who admired their effort while never quite close to being equal in the land that was emblazoned on their chest.  Today’s post “you had better ask someone” came from my viewing a motivating photo of one of the greatest athletes this country has ever placed on the international stage. I mean whether black or white this lady towered over all that came to challenge her.. Yet in her home state of Tennessee the graceful, cat quick Wilma Rudolph was simply another nigger to those who dished out oppression and repression in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  

Miss Wilma Rudolph was deemed a magnificent black queen of exceptional talent on the international tracks she ruled with athletic excellence.  The Italians called her La Gazelle Nera (“The Black Gazelle”) while the French called he La Perle Noire (“The Black Pearl”).  Bigoted Whites folks in her home nation of America simply called Wilma Rudolph that fast nigger girl.  However, in my home where my mother named her baby girl Althea in 1955 after the great Althea Gibson. Who many still say was the greatest black female tennis player of all time. People will argue Serena Williams but Althea Gibson could be considered the greatest because she faced obstacles that Serena Williams could never even comprehend. Well let’s say Wilma Rudolph was great beyond reproach in our home. Wilma Rudolph defied the odds and obstacles that life had already placed before her even before she laid eyes on public track. I just created this poem as a dedication to to the incomparable Wilma Rudolph. The lady with the mercury wings on her shoes. Because everyone knew once those legs started to churn the track was definitely about to burn.

“Wilma was so damn fly and damn Wilma seemed to fly. She'd take anyone near her on a natural high. Wilma was never shy when she begin to fly all she ask of America was too try and not lie. That's is why I feel so high when I mention these five words Wilma damn she could fly I burst with immense pride”

Today’s post will you’d better go ask somebody reflect on my reminiscing of the Olympics in my formative years 1960, and 1964 the years when America was bubbling over with racial strife, oppressive hatred, and repressive policies against people of color in this nation. You think it has always been peaches and cream in America? I understand now you can see so many of our faces being highlighted publicly in our national and international arenas of competition. My young brothers and sisters you need to dig deep into your history for the truth.  Our peoples had huge mountains of prejudice and racial hatred too climb. You may think those mountains of prejudice and hatred have been leveled and  everything is equal. Well I’ll simply say to that stay awake. Now on to the nudge that came to me yesterday; you’d better ask someone.

Here is a list of the black gold medal winners in the 1960 Olympic Games held in Rome, Italy along with the hometown of each of the winners. Please note the hometown because when these athletes returned to the states after receiving the adulation of the world. They were simply niggers with some gold back home. Black men and women who couldn’t order food from the lunch counters, stay in hotels of their own choosing nor attend the state university of their birth. 

1960 Black Gold Medal Winners

Otis Davis, 400 Meters and 4 by 400 meter Relay, Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Ralph Boston Long Jump, Laurel, Mississippi; Rafer Johnson, Decathlon, Hillsboro, Texas; Lee Calhoun, 110 Meter Hurdles, Laurel Mississippi; Glenn Davis, 400 Meter and 4 by 400 Relay, Wilma Rudolph, 100, 200 and 4 by 100 Relays, Brentwood Tennessee; Lucinda Williams, 4 by 100 Relay, Savannah, Georgia; Barbara Jones, 4 by 100 Relay, Chicago, Illinois; Martha Hudson, 4 by 100 Relay, Eastman, Georgia; Walter Bellamy, Basketball, New Bern, North Carolina; Bob Boozer, Basketball, Omaha, Nebraska; Oscar Robertson, Basketball, Charlotte, Tennessee; Wilbert McClure, Boxing Light Middleweight, Toledo, Ohio; Eddie Crook Jr., Boxing Middleweight, Detroit, Michigan; and the greatest of all those Olympians some say then Cassius Clay, now we know him as Muhammad Ali, the Louisville Lip, Light Heavyweight Gold Medal Champion, Louisville, Kentucky. It was said by Ali himself that he threw his precious gold medal in the river. Because Ali felt that even with that gold medal he was nothing more than a nigger in the eyes of the white racist American establishment.

1964 Black Gold Medal Winners

Bullet Bob Hayes, 100 and 4 by 100, Jacksonville, Florida; Henry Carr, 200 and 4 by 400, Montgomery Alabama; Hayes Jones, 110 Meter Hurdles, Starkville, Mississippi; Richard Stebbins, 4 by 100, Los Angeles, California; Paul Drayton, 4 by 100, Cleveland, Ohio; Ulis Williams, 4 by 400, Hollandale, Mississippi; Wyonia Tyus, 100, Griffin, Georgia; Edith McGuire, 200, Atlanta, Georgia; Jumping Jim Caldwell, Basketball, Texas City, Texas; Jim Barnes, Stillwater, Oklahoma; Walter Hazzard, Basketball, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Lucious Jackson, Basketball, San Marcos, Texas; George Wilson, Basketball, Meridian, Mississippi; and Smoking Joe Frazier, Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Beaufort South Carolina. Joe Frazier, the first man to knock Muhammad Ali down in the ring in 1971. Joe Frazier, like Muhammad Ali before him had become the most recognized Olympian from his class. As a matter of fact Joe was the “only” American boxer to bring home a gold medal in 1964.

There you have it the complete list of black gold medal winners. These athletes all superior in skill and talent; represented America before any of them were legitimately able to have full citizenship rights. Any of these magnificent individuals would’ve been shutdown possibly beatdown had they attempted to violate any of the legal restrictions that this country, America, which each of them represented with glory had repressed on them simply because of skin color. The athletes who performed at the London Games were basked in the spotlight of international acceptance in England. The same went for the athletes who participated in the Rome Games in Italy. Yet all the adulation ended the moment that their planes landed in the country that was supposedly the home of democracy for world. Didn’t America save the world from Hitler’s domination only 15-19 years earlier. Yet in the mind’s of the oppressor Hitler’s domination didn’t threaten the American white man’s domination of the American negro. America, was projecting itself as the defender of human rights and protector from those communist nations who were supposedly repressing the rights of it’s citizen. Yet, for these adulated black men and women the repression they felt came not from a maniacal despot or those communist aggressors. The repression and denial of rights came from the same nation they competed for and gain golds for.  

Hey now even to this day our community continues too battle the same enemies that these athletes faced 50+ years ago. Stay awake my brothers and sisters the battle for our equality in this nation isn’t over nor have we conceded defeat.  In 4 years after the 1964 Olympic Games all hell broke loose when Tommie and Lee decided that a raised black glove in solitary was a call to action for equality. I believe as a 14 year old black boy mimicking my heroes in Mexico City, Mexico. I had a black glove on my right hand the remainder of that year. If you don’t know the story of our black gold medal winners being ostracized in the American society simply because of skin color. You had better ask somebody.