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Through all this time in New York, which [Branch] RIckey is trying to change America, there are eight large daily newspapers. The true calling of news reporting was to reach into the sky and try to change some of the sour patches of earth beneath. It never happened. A few Southern editors stood up for blacks, and their actions were so monumental that these men are still known today— Ralph McGill of Atlanta and Hodding Carter of Mississippi, and Harry Ashmore of Little Rock, to name the most obvious. Hugo Geronimo of the Durham Herald-Sun, Smith Barrier of the Greensboro, North Carolina, Daily News, and Frank Spencer of the Winston-Salem Journal believed that [Jackie] Robinson was at least a human being and wrote about him as such.

No white editor in the North became a civil rights legend because no white in the North wanted anything to do with it.

— Jimmy Breslin, from Branch Rickey (Viking, 2011)


The Sports Desk adds: first came Jackie and then, in 1948, Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe.

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