We were at a standstill.

On the freeway, my wife and I sat in the car, looking ahead and hoping to find the cause of an unforeseeable, Saturday afternoon traffic jam.

Having allocated two hours before my 1:30 p.m. book talk at a retirement center, I was concerned I wouldn’t have enough time to test my PowerPoint presentation, try out the microphone, and set up my books for autographing.

Forty-five minutes into our drive, with still forty miles to go, I was less concerned about the above details and more concerned that I would make it on time. The traffic eventually let up, but I would have to accept that I would be late to my own lecture.

Fortunately, I had a warm-up act, my dad!

A retired U.S. history professor, I learned all of the tools of the trade from him. He was able to keep the audience engaged until I arrived.

At 1:45 p.m., carrying a thirty-five pound box of books, I made my way to the room, where I would deliver my lecture about Alex Haley. The 40-person audience was understanding and even surprised me with applause.

Once I settled down and assured the audience my delay was “worth the wait,” I delivered my best lecture to date.

Olli Pic Fixed

Speaking in front of a captive audience.


Over the past weeks, I have worked diligently on my next book, which is about a black doctor, who led the effort to integrate Major League Baseball’s spring training in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Besides working on the first draft, I have collected scores of material from the NAACP archives and Cooperstown’s National Baseball Hall of Fame and interviewed retired St. Louis Cardinals first baseman and past National League President, Bill White, and the widow of the New York Yankee’s first African American player, Elston Howard. White and Howard remembered the doctor, , fondly, and were present at spring training in Florida before and after integration.

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Elston Howard, the first Black Yankee and a symbol of the spring training integration efforts in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Elston Howard, the first Black Yankee and a symbol of the spring training integration efforts in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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