Appendix #5: Apologies? E-mail
Tuesday, 03 April 2012 21:23


I have found only one instance where a northern, integrated university has ever apologised to anyone who was either victimized by the color of his skin, or who at the time publicly opposed or otherwise challenged an institution's policies and practices.

In 1939, Texas A&M University travelled to New York City for a football game against NYU. NYU's star player at the time was its black fullback Leonard Bates. A&M made no issue of Bates' playing that day for NYU, and easily defeated the New Yorkers, 49 - 7. But in 1940, Bates was not allowed, via NYU's now predictable adherence to the Gentlemens' Agreement, to play for NYU in a game at the University of Missouri, long a strident foe of racially integrated athletic competition.

Student opposition sprung up on campus to NYU's stand in the matter. As time went by, the student opposition turned up further information that NYU officials were also blacklisting their own athletes in other sports as welL In December of 1940, students learned that Jim Coward, a black basketball player, was not allowed to play on a trip to two campuses where blacks were not allowed to participate - the University of North Carolina, and, in the nation's capitol, Georgetown University. Even when the UNC coach unexpectedly announced that his Tarheels would be willing to play against any players that NYU brought along, NYU Chancellor Harry W. Chase replied : "The time has not arrived when we can ask southern schools to play against negro players on southern campuses".

Then the news followed that NYU had also agreed to leave three black runners at home when its track & field team traveled south to Washington DC for a meet with another institution that refused to compete with black athletes, the Catholic University of America (CUA).

By now student opposition to NYU's Jim Crow policies were reaching the boiling point. When protest leaders refused to call off their campaign, or to repudiate a flier that accused NYU of racial discrimination, the administration began disciplinary proceedings against the seven student protest leaders now being referred to as the Bates Seven - and expelled them from the university.

A full sixty years later, NYU vindicated the Bates Seven, belatedly honoring them for their courageous stand in support of racial justice.

I have been able to find no other such example of a school, in the north, south, east, or west, in any way owning up to the harm it caused, either specifically to the individual black athletes who were kept out of competition, or collectively to the entire race of people it insulted and demeaned, from its cowardice in meekly complying with the race-based dictates of Jim Crow-abiding white southern Americans.

Last Updated on Friday, 13 April 2012 10:35

Login | 2012 | Lou Montgomery Legacy | Powered by Boston Web Group.