Ralph: We are
going to have to have integration sometime, so we might as well have it
Wallace: Would it
make a big difference to you if you saw a white girl dating a Negro boy?
Ralph: I believe
Ralph: I don't
know. I just was brought up that way.
Wallace: Do you
think Negroes are equal in intelligence, and physically, to white people?
Ralph: If they
have had the same benefits and advantages, I think they're equally as
interview--which first appeared in the New York Post--was reprinted in the
Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Ralph's relatives feared for his life, and Ralph
turned to Little Rock's prosecuting attorney for protection when the media
hounding continued. Who can say when the course of a life begins to turn? The
boy who was class president every year from fourth grade on, the one whose
peers were convinced he'd be governor one day and perhaps even president, would
end up deciding to have nothing to do with public life.
Now Ralph could
start pointing to his old teammates, turning first to center Joe Matthews--no
relation to the coach--who had a police car parked outside his house at night
because of threats against his father. That was Central's principal, Jess
Matthews, who lost 20 pounds and turned to sleeping pills that year because of
Then point to big
John Rath, the starting tackle whose dad's company was being boycotted because
of the stance he'd taken on the school board in favor of integration and whose
sister was being called a "n----- lover" and bumped in the halls at
Central because she'd befriended one of the blacks.