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There he brought to an art form the obituaries which

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Unformatted text preview: students, teachers, and administrators, and our slant was openly positive. In truth, Clanton had little of the racial unrest that was common throughout the Deep South when schools opened that August. TheTimes did big stories about the cheerleaders, the band, the junior high teams—everything we could possibly think of. And every story had several photos. I don't know how many kids failed to make the pages of our paper, but there weren't many. The first football game was an annual family brawl against Karaway, a much smaller town that had a much better coach. I sat with Harry Rex and we screamed until we were hoarse. The game was a sellout and the crowd was mostly white. But those white folks who had been so adamantly opposed to accepting black students were suddenly transformed that Friday night. In the first quarter of the first game, a star was born when Ricky Patterson, a pint-size black kid who could fly, ran eighty yards the first time he touched the ball. The second time he went forty-five, and from then on whenever they tossed it to him the entire crowd stood and yelled. Six weeks after the desegregation order hit the town, I saw narrow-minded, intolerant rednecks screaming like maniacs and bouncing up and down whenever Ricky got the ball. Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abclit.html Clanton won 34—30 in a cliffhanger, and our coverage of the game was shameless. The entire front page was nothing but football. We immediately initated a Player-of-the-Week, with a $100 scholarship award that went into some vague fund that took us months to figure out. Ricky was our first honoree, and so that required yet another interview with another photo. When Clanton won its first four games, theTimes was there to stir up the frenzy. Our circulation reached fifty-five hundred. - --- One very hot day in early September, I was strolling around the square, going from my office to the bank. I was wearing my usual garb—faded jeans, rumpled cotton butto...
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