Thursday, November 14, 2019

”Remembering the Trojans 50 Years Later”

Louisville Heritage Hall of Fame
Trojans Football
C:\Users\elmetra patterson\Pictures\Trojan football 1962.jpg
The Trojans with Coaches G. R. Mockabee and Walter Dale Baker, Louisville Colored High School Football 1962

In May 2020, it will be 50 years since our beloved Camile Street High closed its doors due to full integration of the schools in Winston County. Even before the closing of Camile Street High it was labeled as Winston County Training School, Louisville Negro High School and Louisville Colored High School. Even though the name of the school changed several times, the love for the school mascot “Trojan” and the school colors “Blue and White” will forever be carved in our hearts. Regardless of the name, there were many students who walked those halls and later in life experienced success in numerous careers. We had some very academically inclined students who could and still perform in the workforce across the country. The career paths those students pursued speak for themselves.

However, one area that the student-body and the community were proud of was our athletic programs. Unfortunately, those student-athletes have never been recognized for their dedication and commitment for representing the school with dignity. Many current and former high schools across the country have a Hall of Fame program for student-athletes who participated in their sport programs. So, it is time for us to “Remember the Trojans” by starting our own Hall of Fame for past Trojans. This ceremony will take place at the All-School Reunion in July 2020.

Since we don’t have any statistics or records (which were misplaced during desegregation), the only criteria needed to be a member of the Hall of Fame is that you wear a blue and white uniform. Also, those young ladies and men who did not have the opportunity to graduate as a Trojan due to the closing of our dearly beloved Camile Street High, but started their athletic career at Camile Street Junior High will be acknowledged. We will also recognize deceased Trojans at the request of their family or love ones.

We were proud of our sport programs; it was just an internal feeling of self-worth to wear those blue and white uniforms whether it was football, basketball, baseball or track. Even though there were many adversities these student-athletes had to withstand to be a part of this elite group, but they accepted these challenges. The hardships, pain, and the consequences endured by the student-athletes at Camile Street were possibly shared by student-athletes in other black schools in Mississippi and probably other southern states.

Here are some of the adversities student-athletes encountered while participating in one or more sports at Winston County Training School, Louisville Negro High School and Louisville Colored High School: Lack of proper equipment, old raggedy uniforms, shoes that were ripped and/or with missing cleats, football field that had holes and trenches, no gymnasium until the early-sixties, (basketball games were played outside on a dirt court), no track field for practice, baseball players had to use bats that were held together by screws or tape, when lights were installed on the football field they were so dim you could barely see in front of your hands during practice or a game, no dressing room with showers and lockers, and no weights to develop strong players.

During those days the majority of the athletes did not have a vehicle to get home after practice or a game. As a matter of fact, many of the parents did not have any transportation. When we had practice at night which started at 6 p.m. many of the players would hang out at Brown’s Snack Bar, eating bologna sandwiches, The Brown Jug, shooting pool or at Mama Kate’s café, eating fish sandwiches, or relaxing at the gym. I have seen eight or more athletes stacked in a car packed like sardines or on the back of a pickup truck hitching a ride home. Many of the players took the only other option which was to walk home as far as ten-fifteen miles. It was a common practice for players to walk up and down highways (14, 15, 25, and 397) or short cuts through the woods.

As you may have noticed, not one single player was mentioned by their name whether it was football, basketball, baseball or track because there are too many to list and there is a fear of omitting one. While all the Trojans were not super stars, there were many who stood out head and shoulders above the rest in all sports. One was drafted by the NFL and played for several years. We had some players with God gifted talent like you’ve never seen before. The combination of speed and strength was a common site in our athletic programs. The blue and white brought out the best of players; many who I thought were made for TV. Maybe their DNA was altered right before and during the game because several played with uncontrolled anger as if they were damn near insane. Some were small, scrappy and utterly fearless with a mindset that could not be broken. Not only were these Trojans tough but they were multifaceted, and team oriented athletes.

Due to their athletic skills many of these athletes (males and females) were rewarded an athletic scholarship to a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) or another university within or out of state. Several had athletic scholarship offers but were instead drafted in the Armed Services. While others chose to stay home to help out on the family farm or got jobs in Louisville to help care for their family. Some even moved north to pursue work that paid wages that they could not make in Louisville. Regardless of the decisions they made or those they could not control, the love of the Trojans is still carved in their heart.

In spite of all of these impediments, we had one goal in mind and that was to wear that “blue and white” with pride and be victorious. We did the best we could with the hand that was dealt to us. If we would have known better, we would have expected better. Then again, how do you know what you don’t know? But, there was one thing for sure, “when the Trojans showed up, the Trojans were going to show out”.

Fortunately, we had some coaches who had a great combination of toughness and compassion. Our coaches lived and endured the same struggles and challenges we faced, but they refused to let us be anything but the best we could be. They knew how to lift some players up and how to calm others down until there was one heartbeat as a team. We were taught to be a team who loved one another, who enjoyed and respected one another and played for and supported one another. The coaches had an energy that was contagious and knew exactly how to get the team motivated. It was infused in us before each kick-off, tip-off, first pitch or the first race; to go out and fight until hell freezes over, and then fight on the ice.

Finally, despite the adversities, all the hardships, challenges and pain that student-athletes encountered, we had a principal who had our best interest at heart. Professor L. C. Eiland, affectionately known as Prof, endured his own hardships while trying to give us the best he could with the restrictions of the Establishment. The frustration showed on his face throughout his tenure. While you could see in his face a sense of hopelessness of wanting to do more, he never gave students a feeling of hopelessness. Perhaps that’s why he focused on “education” believing “education” was our way out of our circumstances.
More information will be coming at a later date with more details of this event.
C:\Users\elmetra patterson\Pictures\Trojan football 1962.jpg
First Row: Annie Pearl Young, Velma Goss, Annie Catherine Miller, Earlean McDonald, Annie Cistrunk. Standing: Annie Wells, Callie Hickman, Beverly Roberson, Ruthenia Cistrunk, Mary Miller, Nancy Doss, Mary Joyce Smith, Mrs. Sanders Coach.
C:\Users\elmetra patterson\Documents\Trojan Basketball boys 1963.jpg
L to R. Front Row: Willie D. Edwards, Allen Spiva, Edward Turner, Charlie Miller. Back Row: Rudolph Triplett, 
Oscar Haynes, William Hughes, Billy Austin, Bernis “Peaches” Hoskin, John Cistrunk, James Spiva, Albert Clay, Trainer, Mr. Eddie Nunnery, Coach.

Written by:   Connie Hathorn, Class of 1969, Camile Street High School
Submitted by: Elmetra Patterson, Class of 1964, Louisville Colored High School