Don’t forget Marion Motley.
There is now a movement on Facebook to erect a statue at Mackay Stadium depicting former Nevada Wolf Pack quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Such a prestigious honor for Kaepernick would immediately make Mackay Stadium, the University of Nevada and the Northern Nevada community a nationwide leader in the fight against racial injustice.
There was, however, another great Wolf Pack football player that had just as much impact on and off the field as Kaepernick.
Marion Motley changed Wolf Pack sports and professional football forever. Motley is arguably the greatest football player and athlete in Nevada Wolf Pack history, certainly the first black athlete of importance and distinction in school history and in professional football.
The Facebook group promoting a Kaepernick statue is “UNR Alumni Campaign for Statue of Kaepernick Kneeling in Mackay Stadium.” Motley also has a Facebook statue campaign in his honor labeled “Marion Motley: Honoring His Legacy” which is promoting the idea of a Motley statue erected in Canton, Ohio. Canton, which already has a Marion Motley Avenue, is where Motley played high school football and is the city that houses a bust of the former Cleveland Browns great at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Motley, the second black player elected to Canton’s Hall of Fame after Emlen Tunnell, battled racism quietly and stoically but with no less determination, diligence and courage as Kaepernick now. And Motley did it in an era before television, social media, political correctness and anything remotely resembling a national focus on civil rights.
Motley, in much the same way as Jackie Robinson of baseball’s Brooklyn Dodgers, stood up and stared racism in the face and gave it a stiff-arm and proved he belonged in professional sports as much as any man.
“My hands were always bloody,” Motley told author Stuart Leuthner in the book “Iron Men,” published in 1988. “The officials would just stand there and they’d see those guys stepping on us and they would just turn their backs.”
Motley, along with Cleveland Browns teammate Bill Willis in the All America Football Conference and the Los Angeles Rams’ Woody Strode and Kenny Washington in the National Football League became the first black players in professional football in 1946 since 1933.
“They (the white players) found out what kind of players we were,” Motley continued in Iron Men. “They found out that when they would call us (the N-word), I was running for touchdowns and (Bill) Willis was knocking the (expletive) out of them.”
Motley was one of the greatest football players in the history of Ohio high school sports for McKinley High School. But he was all but ignored in recruiting by all the nearby Big Ten schools and ended up in 1939 at South Carolina State, a small historically black college. A black athlete at a predominantly white university, after all, was a very rare occurrence in 1939 and would be throughout the 1960s and beyond at some schools.
Motley, as a senior in 1938 at McKinley for head coach Johnny Reed, became an Ohio legend. He scored four touchdowns, kicked three extra points and threw a touchdown pass in a 33-26 win over Alliance High in early November. He had two touchdowns, an extra point and a TD pass in a 32-0 win over Mansfield a week later. He had four touchdowns to open the 1938 season in a 48-6 win over Lehman. Motley ended the 1938 season with 17 touchdowns and 11 extra points for 113 points, sixth best in the state (Ohio had 450 football-playing high schools in 1938).
Motley also ran for 2,178 yards as a senior and passed for 683 yards and another 11 touchdowns. He was a 2020 quarterback stuck in the 1930s.
Motley and McKinley played in the Ohio state title game his three seasons (1936-38) on the varsity, losing all three to Massillon High and coach Paul Brown.
“One Bulldog who had the Canton fans talking all season and the opponents in a frenzy was Marion Motley,” the Massillon Evening Independent wrote in November 1938. “Motley was Canton’s offense throughout the season and although the opponents knew it and all mapped out their defense to stop him, none succeeded but Massillon.”
The Evening Independent reported in late 1938 that Clemson was interested in giving Motley a scholarship until they found out Motley was black. So Motley ended up at South Carolina State, where he got little or no attention.
Motley’s South Carolina State statistics are not available (they may not even exist) so little is known about what he did on the football field in 1939.
But he certainly made his presence known.
South Carolina State named Motley to its Hall of Fame in 2000, even though he played just one season at the school. The Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) named him as its seventh greatest player, after Jerry Rice, Willie Lanier, Deacon Jones, Buck Buchanan, Mel Blount and Walter Payton.
The Atlanta Constitution newspaper was aware of Motley at South Carolina State just a few weeks into the 1939 season. The newspaper wrote in its preview of the South Carolina State-Clark University (of Atlanta) game, that “Clark is working hard on defense in order to put a stop to Motley’s crushing attack.”
The Times-Democrat in Orangeburg, S.C., wrote in late September 1939, “Marion Motley is a 200-pound fullback with plenty of speed and coordination.”
Motley, though, lasted just a few months at South Carolina State, a school located in a state where the Klu Klux Klan was thriving and growing in 1939 and being publicized almost daily in the local newspapers.
Motley found a new home in Nevada in December 1939 largely because of the presence of Wolf Pack football coach Jim Aiken. Aiken was a former coach at McKinley High (before Motley was a student there) and was the head coach at the University of Akron (Ohio) when Motley was in high school.
Aiken had just completed his first season at Nevada in 1939, producing the Wolf Pack’s first winning season (5-4) since 1925. But the team scored just 50 points all season long and needed a jolt of energy.
That jolt was Motley, an overwhelming package of never-before-seen talent. Motley, who likely could have gone right from high school to the National Football League, not to mention Ohio State, Michigan or Notre Dame, was now Jim Aiken’s top prize in the Biggest Little City in the World.
Motley at Aiken’s suggestion, registered at Nevada as a resident of Ely, Nevada, even though he had never actually lived anywhere west of Ohio.
“Ely is where Jim Aiken had Motley register when he entered Nevada, presumably to ease an out-of-state tuition burden,” Nevada State Journal sports editor Ty Cobb wrote in 1950. Cobb added that Motley almost ruined his chances at reduced tuition (which was paid for by Reno boosters) when he mispronounced Ely to the woman who accepted his registration.
It didn’t take long for Motley to display some of his wonderful athletic abilities, playing for the Wolf Pack freshman basketball team in January 1940.
“Motley packed the power and grace of a young tiger when he first donned a Nevada freshman basketball suit,” Cobb wrote. “He looks fast and smooth despite his 210 pounds of brawn.”
Motley scored 16 points in a win over the Chico State freshman team and 11 in a 32-25 victory over Carson High on Feb. 17, 1940.
In late February, though, the potential of Motley’s football talents was the buzz around the Nevada campus. “Fans are eagerly awaiting a glimpse at Marion Motley, who will be eligible as a varsity football halfback next fall,” Cobb wrote on Feb. 29, 1940.
Cobb witnessed Motley’s first spring football practice in March 1940.
“Motley was hit hard and often but it usually took three tacklers to drag him down after he plowed, side-stepped and sprinted to long gains,” Cobb reported.
Motley in early 1940 was the only black player on the Nevada football roster, a fact that Cobb, as was the custom in the 1940s in newspapers all across the country, never failed to point out. It was an era, after all, when blacks were not welcome in Northern Nevada casinos, black entertainers could not stay overnight in the establishments in which they performed and blacks were not welcome in the university dormitories. Blacks were also not welcome on the football fields of most universities and colleges in the United States in 1940.
Motley was described in almost all newspaper accounts featuring his name during his Wolf Pack career in ways that now would be considered egregiously racist and unquestionably inappropriate.
A few descriptions of Motley in print . . .
“The big Negro.”
“The colored giant.”
“The Dusky Dynamiter.”
“The big colored lad.”
“Marion Motley, 210 pounds of colored fury.”
Wolf Pack fans didn’t need a program to find Motley on the field. All they had to do was look for the color of his skin. But Reno, despite the fact that roughly 95 percent of its 21,000 residents were white in 1940, fell in love with Motley right from the start. It had, after all, been a while, since James “Rabbit” Bradshaw in the early 1920s, that the Pack football team had a player as explosive and exciting as Motley.
“Motley is the best crowd-pleaser here in a long time,” Cobb wrote in late October 1940.
Although complete statistics of Motley’s Wolf Pack career seem to be lost to history (he is mentioned but five times in the Wolf Pack media guide’s records section), a look back at each game of his 1940-42 Wolf Pack football career through newspaper reports, reveals a flurry of remarkable efforts. Despite the lack of television and social media, news traveled remarkably quickly in 1940.
“The giant colored lad’s prowess is already rumored up and down the coast and he will be a marked man,” Cobb wrote in August 1940, a month before the start of the season.
The Wolf Pack football team that Motley joined had not scored as many as 30 points in one game since the middle of the 1931 season. The Pack scored 47 in Motley’s first game in a shutout victory over San Francisco State at Mackay Field on Sept. 21, 1940.
“Packing his 205-pound bulk as lightly as a ballet dancer Marion Motley danced, side-stepped and slippery-hipped through would be San Francisco State tacklers,” the Nevada State Journal reported. “For diversion he ran through or over them.”
Motley scored on runs of eight and two yards, kicked off once into the end zone, had a 20-yard punt return and completed passes of 14 and 10 yards on his way to 90 yards on 13 carries. He also played linebacker and was in on the majority of the tackles.
The Nevada State Journal’s Ty Cobb, though, noticed something even more important taking place during the San Francisco State game than any touchdown Motley scored.
“Motley has won the respect of all his teammates as evidenced when several of them moved in threateningly after a (San Francisco State player) slugged the Nevada halfback,” Cobb reported.
Motley’s second Pack game was a 6-6 tie at Brigham Young in the first night game in the history of Utah football on Sept. 27, 1940. It rained the entire game but Motley stood out just the same, picking off a BYU pass and recovering a BYU fumble, though he also missed a 15-yard field goal on the muddy turf that would have won the game with five seconds left.
“Marion Motley, Nevada’s big Negro back, lived up to his reputation, although his work on defense was more outstanding than his ball-carrying or passing,” the Salt Lake Tribune reported. “Motley was one of the hardest and toughest running backs to appear in Utah for some time. Motley was driving so hard it took four and five Cougars to bring him down at times. The big Negro was all and more the Nevada publicity boys have said about him.”
Motley then had two interceptions, returning one 18 yards for a touchdown, in a 62-0 win over Idaho Southern (now Idaho State) in Week 3. In his fourth game, a 78-0 win over Arkansas A&M (now Arkansas State), he scored two rushing touchdowns and threw a scoring pass to Wes Goodner.
The entire Pack offense ran through Motley and did for three seasons (1940-42). Orrin Bennett played quarterback in 1940 but he, for the most part, was just trusted to take the ball from center and hand it to Motley. Motley threw as many or more passes every game than Bennett.
It took a while for the Pack to adjust to Motley’s talents. “Motley has a tendency to overrun his blockers who are too slow to keep ahead of him,” Cobb wrote in 1940.
Motley was doing things on the field that Pack fans had never seen.
“Motley turned in a nice play when he faded back 20 yards to pass and was seized by four tacklers,” the Nevada State Journal reported in the first month of the 1940 season. “The big halfback dodged and jumped around as their hands slipped off him and he plowed straight ahead for 22 yards before six men brought him down, though those six also got a free ride the last four yards.”
In Week Five, in a 47-6 win over Eastern New Mexico, Motley had an 80-yard touchdown run and also scored from 15 yards out.
“He smashed through the line and the secondary defenders as if the tacklers were ten-pins,” the Nevada State Journal wrote.
It was after the Eastern New Mexico game that Cobb first reported some of the racism that Motley likely faced in every game.
“Yesterday I heard certain remarks from the New Mexico players that were a direct insult to a man of Motley’s race,” Cobb wrote. “Yes, they were shouted so loudly that I heard them in my seat. I was furious myself and I watched Motley closely to see his reaction and he seemed absolutely unconcerned. I noticed intentionally piling up (by Eastern New Mexico) on the big fellow. The only noticeable effect on Motley I saw is that instead of side-stepping players he simply bowled them over and when he tackled a ball carrier he hit ferociously.”
The final four games of Motley’s first season were a bit more uneventful on the field. Motley and Goodner did not play in a Week Six 7-6 loss at Fresno State on Nov. 2 and a Week Eight 24-6 loss against Pacific on Nov. 21 because of a Far Western Conference rule, which prohibited transfers from playing in varsity competition within their first year at their new school. The Pack, Fresno State and Pacific were no longer in the FWC but the games were agreed to when they were in the conference.
Motley played in the seventh game of the year, a 6-0 loss at Idaho which was played on a wet, icy field in front of just 2,000 people on Nov. 16, 1940. He had just 38 yards rushing on 15 carries but he did catch everyone’s eye with a pass that traveled 70 yards but was incomplete. Yes, even his incomplete passes were worthy of mention.
The game at Idaho, though, was not without its difficult moments. The Idaho coach, Ted Bank, told Aiken right before the game that Motley was not allowed to play. At the time there were just 600 black residents in the state of Idaho.
“I had to grab Jim and pick him up around his waist and hold him off the ground,” Motley told the University of Nevada’s Oral History Program before his death in 1999. “He was going to punch this guy in the mouth.”
Motley’s production and also the output of the Pack offense dipped considerably over the final four games of the season. The Pack went 4-0-1 over its first five games (through Oct. 26) and averaged 48 points a game. The Pack then went 0-4 in the final four games and averaged 4.8 points a game.
Motley, though, had other things on his mind over the final four games. He was convicted on Oct. 29 on a charge of negligent homicide, stemming from an auto accident he was involved with in Fairfield, Calif., back in March. Motley was driving his car and a passenger in the other car involved in the accident died as a result of the crash.
A week after being convicted Motley was released from jail after payment of a $1,000 fine. University of Nevada students and businesses raised the money to pay the fine and get their football star back on the field.
“I cannot tell you in words how grateful I am for what you have done for me,” Motley supposedly wrote in a statement given to the media. “I shall try to show it by the quality of schoolwork I do and the service I can render on behalf of the University of Nevada and the people of this state.”
The Wolf Pack as a team was never very successful in Motley’s three years, compiling a record of 11-12-3. But Motley, who played just 24 games at Nevada (the Pack was 11-10-3 when he was on the field), left a trail of memorable performances in his final two seasons at Nevada in 1941 and 1942.
A 1941 season-opening 32-0 victory over Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo saw Motley score on runs of 66 and two yards. Motley though, injured his knee in a Week Two loss (7-3) to San Francisco. The injury would bother him and limit him severely through Week 6. He missed about half of a 26-7 loss at Arizona on Oct. 11, 1941 in Week 3, though he did score on a 3-yard run.
Motley’s 1941 highlight took place in Week 7, a 20-19 win over San Jose State on Nov. 8 at Mackay Field. Motley returned a kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown and also scored on a 63-yard run.
Graham Gorman, a Reno banker who used to film Wolf Pack games in the early 1940s, remembered Motley’s 105-yard kickoff return in 1975.
“The ball bounced into the end zone around the goalposts,” Gorman recalled to the Reno Gazette-Journal. “Marion reached for it, bobbled it, picked it up again and took off down the middle. He reversed direction at about the 20, leaped over some Spartans, knocked down two more with straight-arms before heading to the end zone. He probably covered 150-170 yards by the time he reached the goal line.”
One of the San Jose State players Motley ran over was Lilio Marcucci, who would later play for and manage the Reno Silver Sox baseball team and become a Reno businessman.
“I was rendered unconscious,” Marcucci told the Gazette-Journal.
The following week, in a 14-14 tie at UC Davis, Motley ran for 116 yards though he didn’t score a touchdown. In the season finale, a 19-7 loss to Loyola Marymount on Nov. 30, Motley caught a pass for 21 yards.
Motley’s 1942 football season started slowly. The Pack beat Cal Poly-SLO 18-0 at Mackay Field on Sept. 26 but Motley only had four carries for 27 yards.
The following week, however, Motley returned an interception 95 yards for a touchdown in a 27-7 loss Oct. 4 against San Francisco at Kezar Stadium. Motley’s remarkable return (he also kicked the extra point) gave the Pack a 7-6 lead.
“At about the 40-yard line the speedy Fred Sheridan (of USF) pulled close to him and about that time Mr. Motley opened up his stride like (the racehorse) Whirlaway coming into the home stretch,” the Nevada State Journal reported. “He pulled away so fast it looked like Sheridan was standing still.”
Motley turned in his last great Pack performance in Week 4 of the 1942 season, a 33-0 win over Stockton Motor Base. Motley scored 27 points on four rushing touchdowns and three extra points. His first score was set up by his own 38-yard pass to John Hatalla.
Motley was the hero the following week when he kicked a 20-yard field goal with about 90 seconds to play in a 3-0 victory over the Santa Ana Air Base (where New York Yankees Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio would be stationed starting in February 1943).
The Pack tied New Mexico 0-0 on Oct. 31, 1942 though Motley had 75 yards (28 on one run) on 22 carries. Motley had a 17-yard field goal blocked and missed wide on a 20-yard attempt. Cobb, though, gushed about Motley after the game once again.
“Marion Motley put up one of the best fights that has ever been seen on the university gridiron,” Cobb reported. “He was usually tackled by three or four Albuquerque players, who bumped him so hard several times that he had to rise slowly and limp back to the line of scrimmage.”
Motley kicked two extra points and ran for 125 yards on 30 carries in his final Pack game, a 14-0 victory over Davis at Mackay Field on Nov. 11, 1942.
Motley would never gain another yard, score a touchdown, throw a pass, kick an extra point or field goal, make a tackle or intercept a pass, all things he did often at Nevada for three seasons, for the Pack again.
Motley, now married with a son, withdrew from the University of Nevada in early January 1943 after he was deemed academically ineligible and accepted a job at the Honey Lake Sierra Ordnance depot.
“We have to be stricter this year,” a university representative told the Nevada State Journal.
Losing his eligibility after football season became a yearly occurrence for Motley, according to the Nevada State Journal.
“It wasn’t that he was such a bad student,” Cobb wrote in 1950. “He had the unfortunate trait of falling asleep at all times and all places, except on the gridiron, but too often in classes.”
“I just need more sleep than anyone else, at least 12 or 13 hours,” Motley told Cobb.
Motley’s time as a Nevada student lasted only from December 1940 until December 1942, with periods of ineligibility mixed in.
“The books usually got him,” Cobb wrote in 1950. “He’d complete a football season OK but fall semester grades always caught up with him and made him ineligible for spring sports. Then the battle would begin all over again to get the marks up and make ‘Mot’ eligible for football in the fall.”
Motley was in the Navy in 1944 and 1945, mainly to play football for Paul Brown, his former high school rival coach, at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center in Chicago.
On Dec. 2, 1945 Great Lakes stunned Notre Dame, 39-7, before 25,000 fans in Chicago. Motley returned an interception 44 yards for a touchdown.
Aiken, whose Wolf Pack went 4-1-1, 4-4 and 7-3 without Motley from 1943-45, still expected Motley, now 26-years-old and the father of three, to return to the Pack for the 1946 season.
“Motley will definitely be back if he can find a place (in Reno) to live,” Aiken said in July 1946.
Finding a place to live in Reno was no easy task for a black athlete in 1946. Motley though, never went apartment hunting in Northern Nevada. A month later Aiken read in the Reno newspapers that Motley had signed a contract to play professionally with the Cleveland Browns and head coach Paul Brown in the All America Football Conference. The contract made Motley one of the first black players in professional football since 1933. Joining Motley in breaking the pro football color line in 1946 was Bill Willis of the Browns as well as Woody Strode and Kenny Washington with the Los Angeles Rams.
Cobb interviewed Motley in 1947 after a Browns game at Ebbets Field against the Brooklyn Dodgers (an AAFC team).
“I was set to come back to Reno for that last season (1946) until the Browns talked to me,” Motley said. “I’ve got a family to support and couldn’t turn down that offer.”
Cobb also reported that the Browns, after stealing Motley away from the Pack, arranged for Horace Gillom to play one season (1946) at Nevada. Gillom, a former high school player for Paul Brown at Massillon High, played one season at Ohio State before getting drafted by the Army and missing three years of football. Gillom, one of two black players on the Wolf Pack with Bill Bass, played brilliantly for the Pack in 1946, leading the nation in punting and playing standout defense and offense. Sending Gillom to Nevada was just Brown’s way of getting his former Massillon player back in football shape before he turned professional. Gillom was at Nevada for just a few months, just long enough to complete the 1946 season, before signing with the Browns in January 1947.
Motley turned in one of the more remarkable individual professional football careers with arguably the greatest professional football dynasty in history with the Browns.
During one game at Kezar Stadium against the San Francisco 49ers in 1946 Motley got his helmet ripped right off his head and still managed to gain 40 more yards. Aiken was at that game at Kezar and also saw Motley turn in a 63-yard run to set up a Browns touchdown.
“He (Aiken) probably winced every time Marion Motley, who had another year of eligibility at Nevada before the pros grabbed him, steamrollered through the 49ers,” Cobb wrote.
Motley’s ability to silently battle racism and help break pro football’s color line in 1946 gave Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey confidence that Jackie Robinson could do the same the following year in baseball.
“If Marion Motley and Bill Willis can break the color barrier in a contact sport, Jackie Robinson can sure do it in a non-contact sports,” Rickey was quoted as saying in 1946.
Motley played nine seasons in pro ball, 1946-53 and 1955. He finished with 4,729 career rushing yards and 31 touchdowns as well as 85 catches for 1,107 yards and seven scores. He led the AAFC in rushing in 1948 with 964 yards and the NFL in 1950 with 810 yards. Motley put up those numbers despite being hampered by injuries throughout his career. He also played defense often and Cleveland was loaded with offensive stars such as quarterback Otto Graham, receivers Dante Lavelli, Mac Speedie and Dub Jones as well as kicker Lou Groza and punter Horace Gillom. Motley was also considered the best blocking back during his nine pro seasons in the AAFC and NFL.
Motley averaged 5.7 yards a carry in his career (AAFC and NFL combined), still a record for a pro football running back.
Motley spent eight years with the Browns and was in his league’s championship game all eight years, winning the first five. In 1968 he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame with Willis as his presenter.
Hall of Fame coach Don Shula, who played with Motley in Cleveland in 1951 and 1952 and against him in 1953 and 1955 once said, “He was a train wreck and I was one of the guys he wrecked.”
Long-time Sports Illustrated football writer Paul Zimmerman once wrote that Motley was the best football player overall in the history of the NFL.
Otto Graham, himself one of the most underrated players in NFL history, said of Motley in 1964 “he is my choice for the greatest pro back. He’s better than Jim Brown as an overall player. There’s no comparison. Motley is the greatest.”
Brown didn’t disagree. “Now there was the man,” Brown said of Motley in the 1960s. “He was the best blocking back in the history of football.”
Legendary New York sports columnist Jimmy Cannon once wrote, “Motley is the greatest all around player I’ve ever seen.”
Motley’s professional playing career was void of trouble for the most part, though he did experience a few issues that today would likely blow up Twitter.
He was involved in another auto accident in 1947 near Akron and was charged with reckless driving again. He told police he fell asleep at the wheel. In January 1949 his wife in Cleveland reported Motley missing to police after Motley appeared at a Sport Magazine banquet in New York. It turns out, according to newspaper reports, he simply spent the night in a New York hotel before making the drive back to Cleveland because he needed to catch up on his sleep.
In 1954, the year he missed completely because of injuries, he was witness to a fatal police shooting in Cleveland outside a café he owned.
Motley, though, despite his success in pro football, never did escape racism in his career, even from the Browns. In 1965, after Blanton Collier replaced Paul Brown as Browns coach, Motley asked the organization for a full-time position either in coaching or scouting and was turned down. He then contacted Brown, his old coach, and was told, “Have you tried the steel mills?”
“After having played to my utmost for a team, in my later years I learn that all the organization wanted was my brawn and not my brain,” Motley said in 1965.
The Wolf Pack has respected Motley as much as any athlete that has ever appeared in a silver and blue uniform. The Pack made Motley a member of the school’s first Hall of Fame class in 1973. In 1969 he was invited as a guest at the inaugural Governor’s Dinner in Carson City where his uniform No. 41 was retired. In 2008, nine years after his death, the Pack honored Motley all season long at Mackay stadium with banners and video tributes during the 40th anniversary of his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
A statue up on North Virginia Street, right next to one of Kaepernick, would be yet another fitting tribute.
“That man, Marion Motley,” baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron once said, “is why I’m a Browns fan. He was a hero before blacks were allowed to be heroes.”
Motley, like Kaepernick, should be a hero to all Northern Nevadans.
“I was raised around whites,” he said in the 1980s. “We never had any problems. Most of the neighborhood was Italian. We all played together and hung around together.
“If we were all at somebody’s home and it was time to eat, it didn’t matter if you were black or white, they always fed all the kids.”
Graham summed up Motley’s life perfectly at Motley’s funeral in 1999.
“If every man in the world, whether black or white, lived with people like Marion did, there would be no racial problem,” Graham said.