Willis’ Blog: What If?
Bill Blair is someone I met with I came to Dallas in 1976 and Bill Blair is the first person I saw when got to the church where my mother’s funeral was being held in 2003. During that time, I learned of his involvement with the old Negro Baseball league. Recently Blair was a part of a black history program and author Bob May was a participant at the program as well. May’s book is entitled , “The Best Season: The First Ninety Games” talks about his encounters with players such as, Monte Irvin, Alvin Spearman, and others. Those are not household names in major league baseball, like Mickey Mantle and Sandy Koufax , but what if, black players had been allowed in the major leagues. What if Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, Satchel Paige had been able to play with Babe Ruth and Don Drysdale?
The game would have changed and so we’ll always wonder how much it would have changed. But the real question is why? Why weren’t blacks allowed to play baseball, why weren’t blacks allowed to get patents for things they invented, why weren’t blacks allowed in the front door of eating places and hotels? Why weren’t black musicians allowed to play major concert halls but instead, had to play “the chittlin’ circuit “ to make ends meet.
In the 50s and 60s the old Prairie View league produced some of the finest high school athletes in Texas, but segregation prevented them from competing against UIL schools and attending the division one schools like UT and Texas A&M. What if ? Not only were athletes confined, but some of Texas’ best academic students were prevented from attending those schools as well. What if?
2012 crime information shows that Oak Lawn and the North Park area had a greater crime rate than South Dallas. Thefts of motor vehicles was 56 in Oak lawn and 11 in South Side, there were 124 reported crimes in Oak Lawn in 2012 and 26 in South Side, what if the mainstream media reported it. The perception is that anything south in Dallas is bad or negative and it’s simply not the truth. There was pride for years at Lincoln and Madison, The Green Parrott , The Woodman, Griffin Cleaners, The South Dallas Nursing home, Dr. Larry Lundy, Tony Davis and the Dallas Weekly and the list could go on, what if we had maintained that pride.
The what ifs continue in 2012-13: What if, NTTA had not allow 97% of their contracts to go to white males. Does that mean that minority businesses could have had a better chance and growth and wealth building. What if there I-Hops in the city limits of Dallas south of I-30, there are none….What if we liked pancakes?
What if Medgar Evers had not cared, what if Dr. King had not gotten involved, What if Rosa Parks continued to stand up? What if black history was still taught as the piece of fiber that makes America tick. What if Lincoln was more than a movie with an Oscar in the lead role? What if we were all difference makers?