|MLK plaque, Winnetka, IL|
Two years ago the Gipper's son, Michael, asked if it was his father who was the first black president, as opposed to Toni Morrison's choice, Bill Clinton.
More from Michael:
During the Great Depression, Dad played football for Coach Mac McKinzie at Eureka College in Illinois. During a game trip to a nearby Illinois college, the team was scheduled to stay in a hotel--but the hotel manager refused to give a room to Dad's two black teammates, William Franklin "Burgie" Burghardt and Jim Rattan.Eureka posts:
Coach McKinzie angrily replied that the entire team would sleep on the bus that night. Dad spoke up and offered an alternative: Why not send Burgie and Jim to the Reagan home in Dixon, just 15 miles away? Dad's parents, Jack and Nelle Reagan, would welcome his teammates -- and the whole team would get a good night's rest.
In his autobiography, "An American Life," Dad recalled, "We went to my house and I rang the bell and Nelle came to the door. . . 'Well, come on in,' she said. . . . She was absolutely color-blind when it came to racial matters; these fellows were just two of my friends. That was the way she and Jack had always raised my brother and me."
McKinzie Field, Eureka College
Burgie was Dad's best friend on the team -- he played center and Dad played guard -- and he recalled the incident as well. Shortly after Dad's inauguration in 1981, liberal columnist Mark Shields interviewed Burgie, who was then a retired college professor. Burgie recounted the story exactly as Dad would later tell it in his book including the warm welcome from Jack and Nelle Reagan.
|Chicago Reagan apt.|
- Ronald Reagan Trail: Eureka College
- Ronald Reagan Trail: Returning to Eureka College and the 1982 address
- Ronald Reagan Trail: Eureka College's Reagan Museum
- Ronald Reagan Trail: The town of Eureka
- Save the Chicago Reagan apartment from destruction
- More good news on the endangered Chicago Reagan apartment
- Friends of President Reagan's Chicago home incorporates
- (Photos) Endangered Chicago Reagan apartment amid rubble
- Ronald Reagan Trail: Chicago and the likely demolition of the Reagan apartment
- Save the Chicago Reagan Apartment Facebook page launches
- Marathon Pundit's Ronald Reagan Trail
Pro Tour Memorabilia P90RRBU-R41 Ronald Reagan - Classic Series (Google Affiliate Ad)