Basketball defensive standout Joe Williams of Los Angeles, Marvin Williams, a football and basketball player from Wasco, and Thomas Jefferson, a basketball player from L.A., have summer jobs working in the oil fields not far from Taft. They visited Lundahl last week, indicated that they probably will return next fall, and received a loan from the Booster Club to tide them over until their first paychecks come through. According to Lundahl and Harrell, some others have said they would not let "a bunch of rednecks" keep them out.
"Whether it's been a death blow or birth pangs, I don't know," says Mrs. Beaty. "I pray it's a good beginning."
There remains the question of whether petitions and community-relations teams can do anything to bring reason to the barroom brawlers and bigots. Tinson said from his home that he is transferring to Sacramento City College. "I don't think any black should report to Taft anymore," he said. "How can they guarantee our safety?"
"They're not ready for it," added Rhone, who is home in Indiana and says he is trying to get a scholarship to Ohio State, even though he had not played much at Taft and had quit the team.
"I don't think it will be safe for me or any other black person in Taft for at least a couple of years," said Steve Blackburn, a tennis player from Sacramento. "Those who cause trouble just won't let up."
From his hospital bed in Bakersfield, Doug Henry agreed: "If they come back—and I'm not trying to stir things up because I'm out of it—somebody is going to get killed."