Mt. Vernon Register-News

Features

August 30, 2013

Must-see documentary tells story of Ala. sports in Civil Rights era

If your interests lean toward American history and college sports, a recently released documentary about the Civil Rights era in Alabama and the vaunted Crimson Tide football program is a must-see.

Paul Finebaum, the noted Southern author and sports commentator, had this to say about “Three Days at Foster,” a reference to the name of an auditorium on the Alabama campus.

“Simply an unforgettable film . . . (writer-director) Keith Dunnavant has taken one of the seminal moments in the Civil Rights movement and peeled off a new layer that is both haunting and gut-wrenching,” the new ESPN sports figure wrote.

There are many levels to the piece, but in the end it tells the story of the clash between Gov. George Wallace’s segregationist beliefs, ones shared by many in the Deep South, and sweeping changes affecting college football and Alabama’s love for the Crimson Tide. The passions of race and rivalries were on a collision course where there would be no easy resolution to an accepted way of life in the Heart of Dixie.

Football teams across the land had begun recruiting black athletes to their teams, but in Wallace’s state, the governor was hard at work keeping black students out of classrooms on the Tuscaloosa campus. The showdown came on June 11, 1963, when Wallace blocked two black students from enrolling for classes at Foster Auditorium until federal troops cleared a way to a registration table inside the gym.

That historical event also turned out to be a triggering moment for the integration of the University of Alabama sports programs and furthered a change in the land’s social, political and cultural fabric that to this day is both amazing as well as revolutionary.

Much of Dunnavant’s work deals with legendary Alabama coach Paul W. “Bear” Bryant and the earliest black players, many of whom were mere footnotes in history, and how they came to join the once all-white team. They weren’t the famous All-Americans that would wear the crimson jersey in years to come, but guys who liked the game and didn’t see why the color of their skin should disqualify them. There was Dock Rone and Andrew Pernell and Arthur Dunning -- maybe not huge physical specimens by today’s standards, but gritty athletes who could play.

Text Only
Features
  • The Simpsons still going strong

    The groundbreaking animation first hit the air Dec. 17, 1989, but the family first appeared on television in "The Tracey Ullman Show" short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987.

    August 21, 2014

  • Pets.jpg Why do people look like their pets?

    As much as we might quibble over the virtues and vices of Canis domesticus, however, and over whether human nature is any better or worse than dog nature, even dog fanciers don't usually want to look like a dog.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Freshman.jpg 8 crucial tips for college freshmen

    With school starting back up around the country, no one has a bigger deer-in-the-headlights look than college freshmen.

    August 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can 6 seconds launch a career? A generation of Vine stars sure hopes so.

    A year ago, Shawn Mendes filmed himself singing a tentative acoustic cover of the Justin Bieber song "As Long as You Love Me" and put the results on Vine. He wasn't expecting much response. "I didn't really want anything to happen; I just kind of wanted to see what people would think," says Mendes, 16. "I posted that first Vine and woke up the next morning with 10,000 followers. That was pretty cool."

    August 14, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 3.09.32 PM.png VIDEO: Stars react to Robin Williams' death

    Prior to the premiere of “The Expendables 3” in Los Angeles, several movie stars shared their thoughts on the death of actor and comedian Robin Williams.

    August 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • job-fair.jpg Job market tilting toward workers

    The balance of power in the job market is shifting slowly toward employees from employers.

    August 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • ruralpoverty.jpg How rural poverty is changing: Your fate is increasingly tied to your town

    The town of Las Animas takes about five minutes to drive through when the one stoplight is blinking yellow, as usual. It's easy to miss but hard to escape. Just ask Frank Martinez.

    August 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dartmouth.jpg Break the college cartel

    Ask liberals why college is getting so expensive, and they'll probably tell you it's a case of government neglect. Ask conservatives the same question, and they'll tell you the opposite.

    August 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 3.43.11 PM.png Your brain helps you judge a face before you even see it

    In a new study published in The Journal of Neuroscience, researchers report that the amygdala — a part of the brain associated with decision making, memory and emotion — plays a part in telling us who to trust almost instantly.

    August 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140805-AMX-PORK5.jpg 'Baconholics' undeterred by 30-year high pork prices

    With images of pigs and barbecued meats tattooed on his left calf, Brian Polak is doing what he can to cope with the highest price of bacon in three decades. The 41-year-old self-proclaimed "baconholic" now often cures his own at home to help reduce costs.

    August 5, 2014 1 Photo

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks