When the Supreme Court ruled to desegregate public schools in Brown v. Board of Education, one school district in southern Virginia did not comply. Instead of accepting black students, the Prince Edward County School District closed its public schools and opened an academy for white children only. This went on from 1959 to 1964.
Richard Aubry, a white college professor, dreamed of playing professional baseball. The Vietnam War, marriage, and a son came first, though, and his pitching arm would never make it to the majors. In the mid-1970s, he still had one chance to play: join the all-African American Farmville All Stars in Farmville, Virginia. But this was the county seat of the Prince Edward County School District. Racial tensions ran deep.
This is the true story of how the team co-captains, who had experienced the school closures directly, looked beyond skin color and gave a thirty-something white guy a chance. Other players and community members disapproved at first. Racial slurs were called out during Richard's first games. But eventually, the team accepted Richard, and the power of friendship and forgiveness prevailed on and off the baseball field.
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About the Author
Richard Aubry, Ed.D., played for the Farmville All Stars for three years in the 1970s. During that time, Richard celebrated a twenty-two-game winning streak, and was named pitcher of the year in 1976. He remains close friends with the other players.
Richard has multiple degrees from the University of Virginia. In addition to being a college professor, he has also worked as a school teacher, principal, director of instruction, and assistant superintendent. He now lives in Florida with his wife.
Coauthor Warren (Ricky) Brown was co-captain of the Farmville All Stars when Richard joined. A native of Farmville, he was the first African American to work for the Farmville Police Department who had been trained at the Police Training Center. His biggest accomplishment is persevering when the public schools closed in his community. He became a success without his father living at home.