Old Times There Are Not Forgotten - Look away..Look away...



I was still in school half a century ago and my parents were figuring out how to bail of work and retire someplace warm.  They had a decade to go but they were lured by the call of the Old South.

We had vacationed at Pinehurst, NC to play golf during spring break for years. I would play in the North South if I qualified and generally the three of us would troop around 36 holes a day for 10 days and get the spring golf fix in.  One year - 1963 - Gulf Oil had something to do with the Masters and my dad got a couple one day passes so the night before they left me in Pinehurst and drove to Augusta to see a round.
The "whites only" sign was eventually removed

The Old South was a bit different back then.  Augusta (Georgia) was indeed old south with small letters - dog lazy streets, persons of color definitely in their place, and the great war of northern aggression but a dream away.  Tara at sunset.  Smell the magnolias.

Mr. Ashe
Arthur Ashe, of tennis fame, was on the accent. The Masters hadn't had a black person do anything other than sweep, mow lawns, serve in the dinning room, polish shoes and, if really lucky, haul around a bag of golf clubs for an ALL white professional field.  The Whites Only aspect of the Masters was getting some heat
and CBS had asked to interview Ashe about it...his feelings.  Problem was that he couldn't get on the grounds of the club nor could he stay at any of the hotels even though CBS booked the rooms.

Things eventually changed at Augusta. Blacks finally could get near the place although it took a couple Hispanic golfers, Rodriguez and Trevino, to help break the way. Women finally got to be members a couple years ago.  I guess that indicates the pecking order of things.

In the 80s I flew into town a lot to see my parents who settled near there, on a golf course, in the pines to live out their retirement and eventually to die there...happy...in a time warp.  One night I flew out and my FF Miles on Delta got me in 1st Class and who sat down next to me but Dean Smith, the North Carolina basketball coach.  He was down, so he related, for several days of golf at Augusta.

It occurred to me then, as it does now, that here was a good coach of course, but one from a Dixieland state
Mr. Jordan and Mr. Smith
that was slow to integrate to say the least. More to the point, Coach Smith got where he was not only because of his skill and talent, but on the backs of black athletes who, at the time of the encounter, could only polish his shoes, carry his bag, fetch his lunch and mumble yessa'.

Lessons learned and lost.

Study the scene carefully.....

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