On Principle

“The 1956-57 Harvard basketball team that was planning to travel to New Orleans was all-white. But the center on the team for the previous three years, Bob Bowman, was black.

“In October 1956, four months after Bowman graduated from Harvard, the basketball team gathered and was told about Louisiana’s new law.

“‘It was presented to us,’ said Philip Haughey, a senior on the team. ‘And our reaction was, ‘So Bob wouldn’t have been able to come?’ There was no debate after that. We weren’t going. Yes, we were now an all-white team, but if that was their attitude, then no one was going.

“Hurley added, ‘It was the right decision, just on principle.'”

From NEW YORK TIMES story on the 1956-7 Harvard basketball team that refused to play when invited to a New Orleans tournament after Louisiana had passed an anti-mixing statute that barred interracial athletic contests


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