American Renaissance - 3 - December 2001
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Jared Taylor, EditorStephen Webster, Assistant EditorJames P. Lubinskas, Contributing EditorGeorge McDaniel, Web Page Editor
keep an all-Big Ten black tackle out of the game. The Buckeyes honored therequest.As the years went by, the talents of black football players made the standardSouthern request sound like a desire forunfair advantage. Thus, for a 1934 gamebetween Georgia Tech and Universityof Michigan, the Wolverines agreed tokeep their star black end, Willis Ward,out of the game only if Tech benched itsstar end, Hoot Gibson.As in so many racial matters, the Sec-ond World War was a turning point inthe formerly consistent Southern posi-tion. The late ’40s saw the integrationof major league baseball by JackieRobinson, and the fledgling NationalBasketball Association signed threeblacks in 1950. Pro football, which hadan unspoken color line from 1934 till1946, was rapidly hiring blacks.The first defections from the South-ern position occurred when schools(with the notable exception of those inMississippi and Alabama) began to playintegrated teams, provided the gameswere not held in the South. Georgiaadopted this new policy in 1950 at agame in San Francisco against St.Mary’s College, and Tech followed in1953 at Notre Dame.The Sugar Bowl itself followed thisNorthern standard. In 1955, in order tolure a Northern opponent to the big gamein New Orleans, the bowl committee fol-lowed the pattern of the Orange andCotton Bowls, and made two crucialchanges. Integrated teams could come,and segregation would not be enforcedin the visiting team’s section of the sta-dium. These changes cleared the way forthe invitation of Pitt to the 1956 game.Until then, no Deep-South team hadever played an integrated team in theSouth, and this was what promptedGrant’s telegram to Coach Dodd.
Controversy at Tech
The coach brought the matter up withuniversity president Blake R. Van Leer,who notified the governor’s office. It isreported that even before the telegramfrom Grant, Coach Dodd had polled histeam and found that every memberwanted to play the game, even withGrier on the field. He contactedGovernor Marvin Griffin, who re-plied, “Bobby, I can’t come out pub-licly and support this [game]. Butyou go ahead and do it.”In the morning of December 2nd,Governor Griffin called the TechAthletic Association and asked for24 tickets to the Sugar Bowl game.Amazingly, a little later that sameday the governor held a press con-ference in which he fiercely de-nounced participation in the game.These hypocritical antics were to becommon in the ensuing years as the likesof Governors Faubus, Wallace andBarnett raged passionately against inte-gration in public while they helped pro-mote it in private.That day for the public, at least, Grif-fin said: “It is my request that athleticteams of the University System of Geor-gia not be permitted to engage in con-tests with other teams where the racesare mixed or where segregation is notrequired among spectators. The Southstands at Armageddon. The battle is joined. We cannot make the slightestconcession to the enemy in this dark andlamented hour of struggle. There is nodifference between compromising theintegrity of race on the playing field anddoing so in the classrooms. One break in the dike, and the relentless seas willrush in and destroy us.”But this was not the 1930s, and theresponse of Tech’s student body as wellas its football team was much differentfrom that of the school that simply re-fused to play an integrated Michiganteam. That same night, December 2nd,a huge crowd of Tech students marchedon the Capitol Building and the Gover-nor’s Mansion to protest the governor’ssegregationist views. On the way theysmashed stores, tore up parking meters,and overturned trash cans. They brokeinto the Capitol Building, smashinglocks, windows and furniture. Theychanted and waved signs saying “ToHell With Griffin,” “Impeach Griffin,”“Grow Up, Griffin,” and “Griffin SitsOn His Brains.” The Governor stayedin his mansion with the lights out, andonly when former Tech football starMilton “Mugsy” Smith assured thecrowd that the team would go to NewOrleans did the students disperse,around three in the morning.The riot prompted one Georgia statelegislator to remark in the followingdays that “no one should in the futurebe admitted to Tech if he adhered to theprinciples of integration.”Sentiment around the state wasmixed. The University of Georgia helda “For Once We’re With Tech” rally toencourage Tech to go to New Orleans.The
now saw theGovernor as “embarrassing the Univer-sity and the state.” In another signifi-cant reversal, the acting Chancellor of Pittsburgh announced there would be“no compromises,” and Grier would“eat, sleep and play with his team.” Con-trary to what it had done for half a cen-
From the program for the game.