Oral History Paper

Submitted By mdsorillo
Words: 1597
Pages: 7

Mervin Sorillo
Kin 3700 History of Sport
Dr. Rita Liberti
California State University, East Bay
Mr. Greg Wrice and Mid-20th Century St. Louis, Missouri During the time of westward expansion in the early 20th century, many Midwest states and cities were flooded with migrates and caught in between the movement. The westward migration created many diverse populations within various cities such as Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri, majority of which were a collective of black and white racesi. With most white inhabitants feeling infiltrated and viewing black populations as inferior, race riots ensued all over including the city of St. Louis. Born in 1962, Mr. Greg Wrice grew up in the city of St. Louis, Missouri. He is an army and special operations veteran, and is currently living in Aurora, Colorado working as a telecommunication specialist. Growing up in the midst of the implementation of The Civil Rights Act, Wrice came across much hostility during the enforcement of desegregation. He lived in segregated communities, schools and was harassed at county lines. By being raised in a racial tension filled city throughout his childhood, segregation, poverty, and inequality influenced Mr. Wrice to build his tough character in which he used sports as a stage to display.
Figure 1: “Protest March by Black Youths, St. Louis, 1970.” Raised in the 1960s, Mr. Wrice was brought into a world fit with tension and animosity. With the implentation of The Civil Rights Act of 1964, the forced desegregation among races, particularly between whites and blacks, caused tensions to heighten. Even with the new legislation, segregation and inequality still endured for quite awhile longer in St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. Wrice and his family lived in a St. Louis community in which the majority of the population was black. The Wrice family were a two-income, working class family who were made up of two girls, two boys and a mother and father. During this time period, big families with two working parents were not uncommon for black familiesii. Segregation among races favored the white community in terms of housing, city lines, jobs and educationiii. Black families were commonly poor, causing both parents to work, or even in Mr. Wrice's father's case, work a second job just to keep healthy on a daily basis. The Wrice family had one car so therefore, transportation was limited. Walking was the common mode of transit for himself and his siblings. Although segregation was banished, racism and inequality still tended to flourish around this period as seen in the drawing of city lines.
Figure 2: Political Cartoon Depicting Racial Violence
Figure 3: Political Cartoon questioning President Woodrow Wilson's beliefs
Figure 4: Death toll during Race Riots Growing up in a black neighborhood within this period of time, necessities were not easy to come by for Mr. Wrice. Black communities were continually the poorer communities of St. Louis, steering away commercial business from implementing new retail stores. At one point, Mr. Wrice had to cross city lines to steal a watermelon from a Farmer's Market. Farmer's Markets are only available to thriving and growing communities, so they were usually only available within white populated areas. As racial tensions were still fresh, blacks and whites were to stay within their own city linesiv. City lines were an important marker as to indicate black and white communities. City lines were so valuable to the city in dividing the races that policemen would guard the limits. Mr. Wrice unfortunately was caught stealing the watermelon from the Farmer's Market, which lead to a massive fight between races: his crew and a few of the white customers. Fights were a common occurrence and would usually become very violent whenever blacks and whites crossed paths since the East St. Louis Race Riot of 1917v, so both races would commonly move in groups. Even in professional sports where both races were integrated together on