I am not writing from a standpoint of placation or appeasement…“I am keeping it 100.” – Andrew Pernell of the University of Alabama’s ‘First Five’
Alabama Crimson Tide: 1967 and the Undercurrents of Integration highlights significant and relevant events before the season changed, interspersed with my commentary on race—which lies at the heart of this memorialization.
“Segregation injures the soul or the mind of the segregated as well as the segregator. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority, while leaving the segregated with a false sense of inferiority.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I present, in cathartic fashion, the feelings, emotions, and hurts attendant to my early experiences. Contemporaneously with my cathartic expressions and the laying down of facts about The First Five, I provide reflexive comments on race and its absurdity as a foundation for human relations, particularly in these United States.”
Over the years, quite a few people have written about the story of The First Five. There are several versions of the integration story and there are many commentaries on those University of Alabama Crimson Tide days. To my knowledge, none of us First Five who was actually there as participants have recorded the events of the times as we experienced them. I was the only one of the first five who survived and returned after the spring A-Day game of 1967; therefore, my account of events may be more comprehensive and enriching than others’ accounts. This book, I would wager, presents the historicity of those things of which I write, more accurately than any other written account.
For high clarity as I present my experiences related to race at the University of Alabama, overt hatred and racism were not constantly on full display, but silent expressions of hatred shone through more subtly in mannerisms and practices, which hung in the atmosphere like a heavy ubiquitous fog. My experience is that hate and racism need not manifest in obvious overt ways to be real or hurtful.