THE ROBERT W. WHITAKER ARCHIVE

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THE PRICE OF "SOCIAL PROGRESS" | 2004-07-17

Here's a baseball story you won't read anywhere else.

The Brooklyn Dodgers was the first team to hire a black man to play in the major league. That is well known. They fought the ridiculous idea that integration would have disastrous and unforeseen consequences.

Something else that is well known is that the Brooklyn Dodgers no longer exist. As Los Angeles tried to obtain the Dodgers team, Brooklyn faced a major problem: in order to keep the Dodgers, they would have to build a new stadium for them to play in.

You see, the old Brooklyn Dodgers stadium was smack in the middle of an area that had become a black ghetto. Fans were afraid to come there.

That is why the Brooklyn Dodgers no longer exist.

Back when I went to Columbia High School in South Carolina, my nickname was "Federal Troops." I was a well-known alarmist about integration. The World War II generation which calls itself The Greatest Generation said that their beloved Federal Government would never use troops against Americans. I said that the Feds would enforce integration at the point of a bayonet.

I remember coming back to school from lunch and somebody shouted, "Federal troops!."

Well, like the Brooklyn Dodgers, Columbia High School no longer exists. There is new school called Columbia High School a mile away. The brick building in which I was ridiculed for being an alarmist about integration became a black school, notoriously dangerous, so they tore it down.

It's a parking lot now.