History captured in glory, shame

July 23, 2008|By GREGORY KANE

The nickname for athletic teams at Iowa State University is "the Cyclones." The nickname for athletic teams at the University of Iowa is "the Hawkeyes."

So I made a mistake in a recent column about former U.S. Naval Academy wrestlers Lloyd Keaser and Wayne Hicks. The column said "an assistant Iowa State coach asked Hicks to work out with some 112-pound high school kid the Hawkeyes were thinking of recruiting."

It should have said an assistant Iowa State coach asked Hicks to work out with some 112-pound high school kid the Cyclones were thinking of recruiting.

Kudos and thanks to e-mailer Joe Brown for pointing out my error to me.

And good luck and best wishes to: Donna Eich and her husband, Frank, who say they have the only existing film of the complete 1958 National Football League championship game between the Baltimore Colts and the New York Giants. Eich's father, James Eich, took the film of the game for the Baltimore Colts. Eich and her husband stumbled across the film several years ago. The film has no soundtrack, Eich says, but it contains all 156 plays of the game and even includes jubilant Colts fans tearing down the goal posts after the Hosses' overtime victory.

"I would like to place this film in the right hands of those who value this historical game," Eich wrote me in an e-mail. Eich is specifically looking to hear from any former Baltimore Colts who might be interested.

Personally, I think "the right hands" in this case are any hands not a.) associated in any way with anyone who has the last name of Irsay and b.) anyone in the NFL's offices. Eich said she's taken the precaution of copyrighting the film, and that a lawyer from Miles and Stockbridge has informed NFL honchos that Eich has "the exclusive rights to market, license, and sell the film as well as all or any part of [any] copyright hereto," according to Eich's e-mail.

Congrats to: C. Fraser Smith, former Sun reporter, current Sun columnist and now author of the newly published book Here Lies Jim Crow: Civil Rights in Maryland.

The Johns Hopkins University Press recently released the book, but I got a preview of the cover in February. I was at Washington College, where I had gone to witness a convocation ceremony where Gloria Richardson Dandridge would receive an honorary degree.

I'd interviewed Dandridge twice before, once for a joint project sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Journalism Studies and the University of Pennsylvania on the 40th anniversary of the release of the Kerner Commission Report and once for a column in The Sun. There was no way I was going to miss Dandridge receiving her honorary degree. So there I was at Washington College on a snowy winter afternoon, listening as Dandridge told a roomful of students about her role as a civil rights activist.

Someone asked her about a famous photo that involved her in a confrontational pose with a Maryland National Guardsman. Why, the questioner wanted to know, did you do that?

"Do what?" I wondered. What was this picture, and why hadn't I seen it? And where could I see it?

Later in the afternoon, in the hall where the convocation ceremony was held, up walked Smith, as if in answer to a wish or a prayer. He showed me an advance copy of the book, and there it was on the cover: the photo. Dandridge, then Gloria Richardson, with an angry look on her face and with her left hand on the barrel of a National Guardsman's rifle.

"Fraser," I asked Smith, "did she actually shove that bayonet aside and walk past that National Guardsman?" Oh, believe me, this photo is classic, and the expression on Dandridge's face says it all, which was basically, "Get that damn rifle the hell out of my way!"

Smith writes about Dandridge in the book, of course, but other Marylanders important to the civil rights movement are in there. A. Robert Kaufman, the longtime activist and Trotskyite who was involved in civil rights before civil rights were popular, will be happy to know he's in the book. So is Chester Wickwire, the retired chaplain at the Johns Hopkins University.

Marc Steiner's activism in the Cambridge protests is covered. And of course there are names like Lillie M. Jackson, Juanita Jackson Mitchell, Clarence Mitchell Jr., Parren Mitchell and the famous Goon Squad, a group of black ministers in Baltimore who forced the white power structure to grant civil rights concessions.

It's a darned good book by a darned good writer. Those of you who love fine writing and history can't afford to pass on Here Lies Jim Crow.

greg.kane@baltsun.com

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