Oscar Charleston was the Willie Mays of his day. Nobody ever played center field better than Willie Mays. Suppose they had never given Willie a chance, and we said that, would anybody believe there was a kid in Alabama who was that good? Or there was a black guy in Atlanta who might break Babe Ruth's home run record? No.
I'm a forgiver. I might not forget, but I forgive. My mother, father and older brother always told me: 'Don't hold grudges. If you do that, you don't lower yourself down to your adversary. Just treat people the way you want to be treated.' I honestly think that's why I was able to survive and have some success.
I was all-state in four sports in New Jersey, but sometimes I couldn't get served at a restaurant two blocks from my high school. There were no job opportunities then... the only thing a black youth could aspire to be was a bellboy or a pullman or an elevator operator, or, maybe, a teacher. There was a time when all we had was black baseball.
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