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Joe Dorinson

baseball player, was born Monford Merill Irvin in Halesburg, Alabama, the seventh of ten children of Cupid Alexander Irvin and Mary Eliza Henderson, sharecroppers. When his father challenged a white sharecrop boss, the family had to flee, first to Albany, Georgia, and then to Bloomfield, New Jersey. The Irvins ended their flight in Orange, New Jersey. There Monte attended integrated schools. But the restaurants were segregated, and movie theaters confined blacks to the balcony. Like Paul Robeson and Jackie Robinson, with letters in football, track, basketball, and baseball, Irvin earned a reputation as his high school's greatest athlete. On graduation night, however, Monte and his date, along with two other black couples, could not eat at a local restaurant near school because of their color.

Sports provided opportunity A scout from the University of Michigan offered Irvin a football scholarship Unfortunately he lacked the funds to reach ...