Former Cannon Street YMCA Little League players Vermont “Pop” Brown, center, and Carl Johnson, second from left, look at the 1958 Fielding Funeral Home team photo. (Alan Hawes / AP Photo, Source: The Nation)
I’m not sure how my words will find you when you read them, but I pray that they find you well and bring you hope and perspective.
“Watch over your heart, with all diligence, for from it flows the springs of life. Let your eyes look directly ahead [toward the path of moral courage] and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you [toward the path of integrity].” For it is wise to “consider well and watch carefully the path of your feet” (Proverbs 4:23, 25 & 26a AMP).
“As we seek to better our lives and take our rightful place in the history of time, Dear Reader, we should strive to do so with moral courage, as a ‘drink from the cup of bitterness and hatred’ will only spoil the good that is you. So, let us watch over our hearts with all diligence, for from it flows the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
In 1955, 14 members of the Cannon Street YMCA Little League baseball team from Charleston, SC faced opposition that would deny them their right to play in the Charleston Little League Championship Tournament due to their race. Although this opposition and forfeiture by boycott from South Carolina’s 61 eligible white teams would lead to the Cannon Street YMCA Little League’s victory, this injustice would also lead to a denial of the team’s right to play in the Little League World Series.
“The [Charleston YMCA] league was founded by Robert Morrison, a local businessman who also served as president of a YMCA branch originally founded in 1866, specifically for black people to use. The Little League would be the first and only one for black kids in Charleston, or anywhere else in South Carolina for that matter. It would consist of four teams; 100 kids, none of whom had gloves, showed up for the tryout that would determine the sixty roster spots” (Sauer, P. 2022, August 18. The Little League Team That Never Got The Chance To Play. The Defector.).
History demonstrates to us that those who are of moral courage will always win. It may not look that way in the moment, and it may not feel that way at the beginning, but a moral and an uncorrupted heart can be your winning strategy. History supports these facts, so, show up, Dear Reader, and make your mark in history.
This young team of all-stars and history makers showed up, despite oppression, allowing the Cannon Street Little League team to achieve victory and make their mark in history, becoming known as the Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars.
We too may encounter opposition in this journey called life as we seek to pursue our dreams and make our mark in the history of time, but this opposition does not have to hinder our walk in victory. So don’t let it stop you, and don’t allow it to make you turn back, because, you see, Dear Reader, this path of moral courage is a path that is well-suited for you. Show up when you encounter opposition, and show up even when others don’t feel you deserve to be there, because the game of baseball (greatness) is one that you deserve to play, too. Don’t sit idly by, and don’t let your dreams die. Persist, and always persevere because history demonstrates to us that those of moral courage will always win. God intends for you to win in this season, and, in fact, you will. As He reveals the beauty that is you, let your light be seen with great courage and confidence.
I found inspiration in this piece of history, Dear Reader, as my wife told me the history of the 1955 Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars. Her uncle, Vermont “Pop” Brown happened to be one of the young men in these photos who played on the team. Beloved, they made their mark in the history of time, and we can, too.
You see, we too must “watch over our heart[s] with all diligence” as we win and be steadfast and sure in all that we do. Those who came before us did, and we can, too.
Dear Reader, “the path of the just (righteous) is like the light of dawn that shines brighter and brighter until [it reaches its full strength and glory in] the perfect day” (Proverbs 4:18). Continue to trust God in your most difficult places, because He will see to it that you make it to the destination of His promises. I want you to know that you are not alone, and it is my prayer that this column will make you feel as though you have a place to belong and somewhere to call home.
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P.S., Yours Truly,
The Writer, Seneca Howard
About Seneca Howard
Seneca Howard is a pastor, author, mentor, and motivational speaker who inspires the lives of others through crisis ministry, counsel, and personal development.