Coach Bryant, Cunningham and integration

The Boston Globe ran this story earlier in the week (read it all embedded below) on Sam Cunningham and USC’s visit to Birmingham to play Coach Paul W. “Bear” Bryant’s Alabama Crimson Tide. According to the Globe: “The way the story goes, that moment was a milestone, marking the moment Bryant realized it was time to integrate his program. One Alabama assistant would say, ‘Sam Cunningham did more to integrate Alabama in 60 minutes than Martin Luther King did in 20 years.’

“The truth is Alabama already started recruiting black athletes. One of them was actually watching from the stands that afternoon. As for the Bryant and Cunningham exchange, it wasn’t nearly as dramatic.

“‘He congratulated me and Clarence Davis and Jimmy Jones outside of the locker room after the game,’ Cunningham said. ‘The story got started that he took me into the other locker room, but I never really went in there.'”