Remember Jerry Levias???
Auburn and the SEC in general have grown tremendously since they opened their atheltic programs to accept black athletes, especially stopping the exodus of homegrown athletes from black high schools across the state who took their skills to the predominantly white Big Eight, Big Ten, Pac Eight conferences and to the HBCUs of Southwest (SWAC), CIAA and SIAC.
I recall the outstanding performance of SMU's Jerry Levias (Beaumont's Hebert High '65) who ran all over a hostile, racist crowd at Auburn in the mid-60s. He had been the first black gridder granted a full scholarship for football in the old Southwest Conference.
I subsequently over the years would find myself, as I do today, pulling for the War Eagles when Bo Jackson arrived on the scene. And now again under Cam Newton, Auburn's latest Heisman winner. And there have been many great black Tigers since Levias was first rejected, ridiculed and spat upon.
Society as a whole has moved past old ways and set aside prejudices to find a way to move ahead together as one. And we're all better for it.
But, lest we forget the dark sides of our past histories, we can be destined to repeat them. So for this week, I remember and smile about how we have overcome.
Go, Cam!!! Jerry is watching.
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By Mo Johnson
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