I received an extremely rewarding email yesterday from one of our readers, Jim Hastings. Hastings, the Principal at Clinton High School in Clinton, MA, is an old AFL fan and reader of Tales. Yesterday he reached out to me with the following email about how he used Tales from the American Football League to help teach his students about civil rights issues in the 1960s.
Thank you for getting back to me… I’ve posted with you and plan to do so with this info but wanted to share this with you first. I’m the principal of Clinton High School, Clinton, MA. As an east coast Chargers fan, I follow your site consistently. As an AFL fan I was totally surprised watching AFL , Full Color a couple of years ago and hearing about the All Star boycott in Jan 65 in New Orleans. I had never heard of it and have tried to find and read as much possible. Sadly, I feel history has not given it, it’s merits. When I read about Larry Garron of the Patriots, on your site, I said to myself, here’s a man who was a man of history and conscience, and he lives nearby. It took me about two weeks but I had an idea and finally tracked him down. I invited him to come to our school and talk to our students about the game and times. About Civil Rights and the AFL, to our US History 2 classes that are presently studying that theme in their classes. He agreed. It was one of the best days I’ve had as principal. He sat in a chair and talked about the life in professional sports at the time for an African American (supported by examples of our own Bill Russell’s struggles in Boston) both racism and the salaries. Our history teachers were really impressed.
He came early with his wife and visited with me in my office. By phone I apologized the week before that when he enters my office not to be mad when he sees my poster of Lance Alworth. He laughed and said he remembers him well (both Mississippi guys). The students did ask questions and more importantly they listened. Whenever we have assemblies or speakers, I watch the kids to see if they are involved or not. He had them following. I am still in the clouds with how this played. I received a nice email from his wife later yesterday afternoon thanking us. Imagine that, him thanking us. I need to thank you for the coverage you give through your site. I also own a copy of your book on the 60s Chargers. I would never have put this together without the knowledge of Larry Garron living only thirty miles away.
The local Clinton newspaper reported on the event in an online article that can be read HERE.
What a treat! First for those kids to have the opportunity to sit and listen to Larry Garron speak not only about his time as a professional football players, but more importantly, about the issues that he faced as an African-American in the 1960s, and for me to learn that Tales helped to initiate this gathering. Tales from the American Football League exists to help educate and entertain people of all ages about the AFL. I am beyond thrilled to learn that it is doing it’s job!