high schools—Beach and Carver in Georgia and Gibbs in Florida—stole the show in
this month's state high school basketball tournaments. Not only did they win
state championships in their divisions, they made history. The three are
all-Negro schools—the first in the Deep South to play in white tournaments.
In the South most
states have two high school associations, one for whites and one for Negroes,
but Negro schools have broken the color line here and there. The results: Beach
of Savannah won the AAA finals by 39 points over South Fulton of Atlanta,
another all-Negro school; Carver of Atlanta took the AA championship, and Gibbs
of St. Petersburg won the AA tournament in overtime.
South there is suddenly a new group of high school athletes, a second party, if
you will—the Negroes. In North Carolina, for instance, four of the 10 top teams
were Negro. In Tennessee, where last year all-Negro Pearl of Nashville won the
previously all-white state tournament, four of the seven best college prospects
are Negroes. Even in Alabama times are changing. In 1966 a Negro on an
integrated team was runner-up in the voting for MVP of the AAAA tournament. And
this year a Negro made the Class A all-tournament team.
Ellington, the coach of Beach, explained why Negro teams excel: "Let's face
it," he said, ''most of our boys don't have anything else to do—no money,
no cars and all that. Basketball gives them something physical and good to do.
They play and play. They work at it, and we're proud of our record."
immediate benefit is that more colleges in the South are offering grants-in-aid
to Negroes. Earlier this month, in making public a new recruiting policy,
Georgia Tech Athletic Director Bobby Dodd said: "We show no discrimination
between the white and the Negro boy. We started looking hard in this direction
early last year and will recruit any athlete we feel is good enough both
athletically and academically."
If Dodd, and
others, pay more than lip service, the underground railroad carrying Negro
schoolboys to the Missouri Valley and the Big Ten may soon be curtailing its
service. In time, too, Negro powerhouses like Beach will be humbled. As Coach
Roger Couch of Druid Hills said after losing to South Fulton 83-58 in the
semifinal round: "We talk a lot about integration. Let's start integrating
the Negro schools." And if Coach Ellington is right, the day has to come
when the Negro ballplayer will no longer have the edge on the white.
THE GIRLS FROM
Nothing to worry about yet, but you might keep an eye on this First Ladies
International Racing Team, a three-girl outfit from England that hopes to enter
Monza and the other major long-distance auto races in Europe this season.
They've got a new car called a Mini-Marcos, outfitted to run 120 mph over the
endurance route, and one big goal in mind. They want in at the 24 Hours of Le
Mans on June 10 and 11—no woman has been allowed to compete there since one was
injured in a prewar smashup—"to beat the men at their own game." That's
fine, except that they picked their team name so they could call themselves The
Girls from FLIRT, which has an un-Le Mans ring if we've ever heard one. If
France lets them in, it will become the Race from SHAMBLES—Stay Home and
Maintain Beautiful, Ladylike Exteriors, Sweeties.
up on the flowers and cheery wires, just a bit longer," the Sierra Club
told newspaper readers last week in another of its striking full-page ads. This
one said that the battle against the dams in the Grand Canyon is by no means
over. The Administration had, indeed, withdrawn the support it gave last year
to the upstream, or Marble Canyon dam (SI, Feb. 13). But now the chairman of
the House Interior Committee, the Hon. Wayne Aspinall of Colorado, has put in a
new bill for the downstream, or Bridge Canyon (also called Hualapai) dam.