[Page: H8872] GPO's PDF ---
Minnie Minoso was the first African Latin baseball player. And in 1954, in Memphis, Tennessee--a town I was born in and a town in the Southern United States that was especially a part of the Jim Crow era--I went to a baseball game, an exhibition baseball game. And I was on crutches because I had polio. I had a Chicago White Sox cap on and a Chicago White Sox T-shirt.
A player came to give me a baseball from the opposing team, the St. Louis Cardinals. I thanked him. And I went and told my father. And we came down to thank him. And he said: ``Don't thank me. Thank that player over there.'' He was the blackest player on the field, number nine, Minnie Minoso. He didn't feel comfortable in 1955 to give me a baseball. Yet he was the player with the most compassionate heart and humility on the field because that was the segregated South.
Minnie Minoso became my hero, and I followed his career and became friends with him. We exchanged gifts. He came to Memphis, and I went to Chicago.
In 1960 when he came to Memphis, he was staying at the Lorraine Motel--the segregated African American hotel in Memphis--because African Cuban Latin players, African Americans weren't allowed at the Peabody Hotel, where the other players were.
I couldn't believe that my baseball hero, a great all-star, was staying at the Lorraine, which happens to be where Dr. King was murdered. But that is where he had to stay.
I learned about segregation from living in Memphis and from being befriended by Minnie Minoso. The insanity of segregation and the separation of people by race, that period of Jim Crow and previous slavery--which existed in this country for 250 years of slavery and 100-and-some-odd years of Jim Crow--still pervades this country.
There are lingering consequences which must be dealt with. The gentleman from California (Mr. Schiff) well addressed them. Much must be done in law enforcement and criminal justice but also in education and opportunities for jobs, which people don't have today in the South and many other places, in inner cities.
So as I think about Minnie Minoso, and I think about segregation and the effect that it has had on America--America's original sin was slavery. We haven't overcome it.
Some write about it and get recognition. People read their books. Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote in the Atlantic. Edward Baptist has written a book about the benefits that America got from the slave trade and how many people made money from it shipping cotton, making clothes, insuring the slave trade. It was the great economic benefit of this country and made this country great, all on slavery. Edward Baptist writes it well.
Michelle Alexander writes in ``The New Jim Crow'' about the incarceration rate of African Americans, that it is wrongfully high. If you are African American, the likelihood that you are going to be arrested and incarcerated is so much greater than a Caucasian for living in the same society and doing the same things.
We must put an end to discrimination in all its forms and fashions. In the criminal justice system, sentencing reform needs to take place. In the criminal justice system, we need to see that law enforcement agencies and prosecutions of law enforcement officers are done transparently and fairly and justly.
We need to be sure that Americans continue to have faith that this is the land of the free and the home of the brave, and that our Nation is one in which people get equal justice, as was planned by our Founding Fathers but was never quite implemented."