August 9, 2017

56 Years Later, White Man Apologizes To Former Black Teammate For Racism


Eugene Britton Carter received the apology from Tom Owens 56 years later.

In a report from Fox59, the now 72-year-old Carter received a letter from Owens apologizing about how Carter and three other black basketball teammates from Newport High School were mistreated and prohibited from attending a tournament in Georgia because of the color of their skin back in 1961.


Carter, who now lives in Kokomo, Indianapolis, but grew up in Newport, Kentucky, said he was kind of shocked when he received Owens’ letter.


“…I hadn’t seen or heard from Tom since 1961 and then wrote me a letter apologizing to me for something I almost forgot about,” Carter said. “…it bothers me a little bit he’s been carrying that weight on his shoulder for 56 years now how he really felt about it. I never knew because when they came back from Georgia as a team we went on as nothing ever happened.”


Owens’ letter first came about during a class reunion last year, where he and other teammates talked about the trip to Georgia and agreed that they wanted to reach out and offer an apology.


“This is something I have thought about all my life. And well actually it took a couple years after I got out of high school and started maturing a little bit and became an adult,” Owens said. “I have been thinking about the right thing to say and all and finally about a month ago I finally got the letter written and sent it off to him and was so pleasantly surprised when he immediately called me back to say how much he appreciated it.”


Although the two have yet to see each other since the 1960s, Carter and Owens now keep in touch and hope to see each other at some point in the foreseeable future.




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