This month, Dr. John Carlos was inducted into the Texas A&M University-Commerce’s Hall of Fame. This was an incredible moment in history for Dr. Carlos who attended TAMUC for only a brief period of time during which he experienced the turmoil of the first few years of integration in this region of Texas.
At the time, the university had a different name, East Texas State University. The president of the university, James G. Gee, was a staunch segregationist who resisted integration until the very last minute when the state came down on him and forced him to allow African Americans admission to the school.
Carlos, who was originally from Harlem, NY, had heard of de jour segregation, but had never experienced it personally until he arrived at the airport in Dallas. In A Clear Channel, Carlos describes the segregated bathrooms and the filth of the one that was intended for black use only. Once on campus, he had to contend with Coach “Love it or Leave it” Delmer Brown who discriminated against his African American athletes. Carlos was not one to sit idly by and take such abuses.
During his speech on Saturday night, he recounted the story of how he almost left the school because of such racist behavior and how one student talked him into staying. Carlos’ spoke about the love that he now feels from the university and how often, in life, if you wait long enough, things will come full circle.