The Color Line Falls
I got out of the service on October 20, 1945, and headed to Baltimore. Luther wasn't but three years old and I hadn't seen much of him, so I took him home to Oklahoma to meet my mother. She was excited to hold her grandson and see me in one piece. A lot of mothers with sons in the war never saw their boys again. There was a lot of catching up to do with family and neighbors, and it had been a long time since I'd had my mother's cooking, so those were very happy times. We had a nice visit but I had to get back to Baltimore after a couple of weeks. Luther needed to get back to his mama, and I wanted to move to Maryland to be around Norman who had been playing for the Baltimore Elite Giants.
I hadn't been out of the Navy but a couple of days when the news broke. Jackie Robinson, who had just finished his rookie year as a shortstop with the Kansas City Monarchs, signed a contract with Branch Rickey to play in white baseball.
Looking back on Jim Crow and baseball's color line, I'd have to say that segregation was just something I'd gotten used to. I was brought up this way. I was used to it, and it didn't bother me. As long as I could get along, it didn't bother me. I knew this was just one of those things -- the way it was. I knew it wasn't fair, but you had to accept it. There wasn't anything you could do about it. I'd played a number of times against all-white teams in Texas, Oklahoma, and Mexico. I played 'em and the fans seemed to enjoy it. It could work. I figured it was just a few people who didn't want to see integration happen. I didn't think everybody felt that way. When Jackie Robinson signed with the Branch Rickey, I just said, "So well and so good."