* Code added to make Google search more likely. Mississippi Civil Rights--One Man, One Story: Wendell Mottley--The Rest of the Story

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Wendell Mottley--The Rest of the Story

Yesterday I reprinted a story from 1961 about the efforts of 5 students from the University of Virginia who wanted the Yale chapter of the Delta Psi fraternity to dismiss their plans to initiate a black student named Wendall Mottley. Apparently the University of Virginia students felt Mr. Mottley wasn't worthy of being a Delta Psi member. Above is a photo of Wendall Mottley, number 613 on the left, as he runs to a silver medal finish in the 400m race at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. He missed the gold medal by one tenth of a second. He also won a bronze medal in Tokyo as a member of the Trinidad & Tobago 4x400 meter relay team.

Since track was not a viable profession at that time, Mottley had to move on to other fields like becoming the Financial Minister of Trinidad & Tobago, and now his current position as Senior Advisor and investment banker at Credit Suisse in New York. You can do your own search on "Wendell Mottley" and you will find many other impressive credentials about the man, enough to make me think that his achievements alone have probably topped the combined achievements of the 5 students who felt compelled to have Wendell Mottley barred from the Delta Psi fraternity. How were we ever at a point where the color of skin meant so much and the qualities of a person meant so little?

While researching the above, I did another Google search. There were just over 2,000,000results when I searched on "civil rights Mississippi". Just about everything you want to know about that era has been written and posted somewhere, making me feel like what I'm doing here is probably 99.9% redundant in some way. In a way, that's a great relief.

My gut feeling, plus the low numbers on the blog hit counter, tells me that not a lot of people will be coming to this site to learn about Civil Rights in Mississippi. With that being the case, why not make it more interesting for me and the people most likely to read the blog? I saw an interesting article on the Rev. Clay Lee that I'd like to post--I didn't know that he was a minister in Philadelphia, MS at the time of the 3 horrific murders. I've seen fascinating stories in the newspaper clippings that I'd like to share--I had forgotten just how different the world was back then. And of course, I will have the family stories in the mix as they fit in with all the rest. This is still a blog about my dad during an amazing period of time, but the family stories really need to be told within the context of the overall picture of that time in our country.

I hope those of you who are reading this will continue to visit the site every now and then. I have a feeling that the things that I find interesting will also be interesting to most of you. Plus, we still have that second KKK newsletter coming up later this Thursday and that's worth sticking around for a few more days.

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