BLACK HISTORY CANNOT BE CELEBRATED WITHOUT A FEW GOOD WHITE MEN AND WOMAN
The Civil Writer Magazine Howard Augustine "Humpy" Wheeler is the former President and General Manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway, one of the premier auto racing venues owned by Bruton Smith's Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Better known as H.A. or "Humpy" Wheeler, he has long been known as one of the foremost promoters of NASCAR auto racing. He opened the motorsports world to a Black man named Willie T Ribbs.
In 1945, baseball policies separating black and white players changed forever when Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey signed a contract with Jackie Robinson that would bring him into the major leagues. Paul Newman was well-known as an actor, but also was an IndyCar owner and saw Ribbs' talent early. Bill Cosby sponsored a Raynor Motorsports car in 1990 to allow Ribbs a shot in Indy. Ribbs says he did not know Cosby personally, but he says without Cosby's investment, he wouldn't have made it to the Indy 500.
In 1950, Red Auerbach made NBA history by drafting the league's first African-American
player, Chuck Cooper. He constantly added new black players to his squad, including Bill Russell, Tom Sanders, Sam Jones, K.C. Jones, and Willie Naulls. In 1964, these five players became the first African-American starting five in the NBA. When Clark Gable found out that Hattie McDaniel and the other black stars of the film would not be allowed to go to Atlanta along with the white members of the cast, he hit the ceiling. Clark Gable was already good friends with McDaniel prior to making the movie, and he angrily threatened to boycott the premiere unless she was allowed to attend. It was McDaniel herself who talked him into going. Clark Gable was a big enough star to undo segregation on a Hollywood movie lot, but segregation in the heart of Dixie was too much even for him. Though Abraham Lincoln saw himself as working alongside the abolitionists on behalf of a common anti-slavery cause, he did not count himself among them. Only with emancipation, and with his support of the eventual 13th Amendment, would Lincoln finally win over the most committed abolitionists. On September 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which declared that as of January 1, 1863, all slaves in the states currently engaged in rebellion against the Union “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” On this day in 1964, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs into law the historic Civil Rights Act in a nationally televised ceremony at the White House. ... The 10 years that followed saw great strides for the African American civil rights movement, as non-violent demonstrations won thousands of supporters to the cause. Throughout his life, Frank Sinatra, the musician and actor, was involved in many different political activities in the United States. He also held positive views toward African Americans at a time when much of the United States still had segregation. From his youth, Sinatra displayed sympathy for African Americans and worked both publicly and privately all his life to help them win equal rights. He blamed racial prejudice on the parents of children. In 1947 Sinatra remarked: "We've got a hell of a way to go in this racial situation. As long as most white men think of a Negro as a Negro first and a man second, we're in trouble. I don't know why we can't grow up. Eleanor Roosevelt embraced a civil rights agenda which accepted integration and championed equal opportunity. Quality education became her top public priority. As she told the Conference on Negro Education, "wherever the standard of education is low, the standard of living is low" and urged states to address the inequities in public school funding. Though pro football included 13 black players through the 1920s and early '30s, the integration
of the sport did not truly begin until 1946 when the Los Angeles Rams signed running back Kenny Washington and receiver Woody Strode, and the Cleveland Browns of the All-America Football Conference signed offensive tackle . Dan Reeves, a shrewd businessman and a master innovator who had bought the team in 1941, decided to move the Rams to Los Angeles for the 1946 season. He then signed Kenny Washington and Woody Strode to make them the first two African-American athletes with an NFL contract since 1932.