One interesting case involved a soccer player from Jamaica, Tony Barriteau. Tony was a joy, and volunteered his time teaching the growing number of soccer kids in Wilson.
Greenfield School was the private school in Wilson, and it was typical of the schools built during integration, soccer; no football.
I got a call from George Bell, Greenfield’s headmaster. He wanted to know if I should hire an applicant named Barriteau, who’d listed my name as a reference.
“Why not?” I asked.
George hemmed and hawed until my silence forced him to say it.
“Well, he’s black, you know and our parents……..”
He was still stammering when I advised him “George, hire Tony.”
I’d forgotten it until a call from an excited Tony Barriteau. “Coach, I, I, I think
I did it right. I remembered all you said, I, I, I…”
“Tony, what happened.”
He explained that on his first day at Greenfield he was eating lunch with the faculty and staff. All of a sudden George Bell, choking on his lunch, turned blue and grabbed his throat. Tony had administered the “Heimlich Maneuver” perfectly, popping George’s lunch on the cafeteria floor.”
“Tony”, I said, “go get Mr. Bell on the phone. ” A few minutes later George Bell said “Hello”.
I couldn’t resist: “George, how do you feel about hiring Tony Barriteau?”
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a white cat or a black cat, as long as it can catch mice,” Colin Powell at Elon University – 2005.