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Posted by Courtney Holmes on

Happy MLK Day friends! My Grandpa Mel Hutchins passed away about a month ago and i thought this would be a cool story to tell on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, as told by my mom:

"One story I love about dad is the story about his friend Charlie Cooper. In the early 1950’s, before the civil rights movement in America, and when race segregation was still prevalent in the south, Dad was playing basketball for the Pistons, who had just signed their first black player to receive an NBA season contract, Charlie Cooper. They had a game scheduled against the New York Knicks in Miami, Florida. The night before the game, the team was staying in a very nice hotel, they all went down to dinner in the hotel restaurant. Most of the players had been seated and had ordered dinner. As dad was sitting at the table, he noticed Charlie arrive, the maître de had stopped him at the door. Dad got up and walked over to see what the problem was. The maître de told Charlie that their policy was not to serve quote “colored people” at their restaurant. Dad spoke with the Maître de and was unable to get an exception for Charlie. Charlie kept saying, don’t worry about it, I can eat somewhere else. Dad, rather than ignoring the injustice told the maître de, “If he doesn’t eat here, none of us will eat here”. He went back and told his teammates what had happened, and that we’re all leaving to eat somewhere else. The whole team got up, walked out and went down the street with Charlie and got hamburgers. Charlie Cooper never forgot this act of kindness and remained a good friend with dad from then on." 

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