Remembering the ’56 Frederick Bombers
I felt good about my profession Monday night. I felt good about my standing in my profession.
The Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame held its annual induction ceremony Monday night at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and the 1956 Frederick Bombers were lauded as a team of legend. That’s the Frederick team I wrote about last February. Those Bombers were the first integrated state champion in Oklahoma history, and the story of how coach Dean Wild integrated the football team a full decade before the school integrated never really had been told.
It was Oklahoma’s “Remember the Titans,” except these guys meshed almost immediately. They mesh still.
Because of that story, lots of good things have happened to Frederick. Wild was given a diversity award in March, and then came the virtual reunion Monday night. Nineteen of the 29 surviving players off that team were there, and all seemed thrilled that their story has been celebrated. The sisters of the late Pete Clewis, who came over from the black school, Boyd High, to play on that ’56 Frederick team, were at the inductions; one lives in Arlington, Texas, and invited me to stay with her when the Super Bowl comes to town in a few years.
Sometimes the stories we tell don’t make an impact. But sometimes they do, and this one resonated with people. Pat Jones said on his radio show that anyone who thinks sports aren’t important should read that story. I would say the same thing about history. This story made a difference in some people’s lives. It brought back to life a very special time. It also gave us all reason to hope.
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