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The burden of being the first black man in a job normally done by whites

The burden of being the first black man in a job normally done by whites
USC fullback C.R. Roberts during a game in Berkeley against the University of California in 1955. (Associated Press)

To the editor: The story of USC football great C.R. Roberts and his game against the University of Texas in 1956 reflects those of other men who had to endure being among the first to perform a job that had customarily been done by white males.

As the first black male promoted to expediter at a factory in 1957, I was told that I had to be the Jackie Robinson of my profession. My white friends found that hard to believe since they never had to be a Mickey Mantle or a Babe Ruth.

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Sam Cunningham playing for USC against the all-white University of Alabama football team in 1970 is what turned the tide on integrating sports teams at schools in the South. I don’t know Roberts personally, but I do understand him, as I have experienced his pain.

Donald Peppars, Pomona

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