In Memory of
Look at us Now
We got together
1981 in Review
Leuzinger High School Class of 1981 - Golden Gloves Champion Clay Hodges - Class of 1959
¬† William Clay Hodges was a very good friend of mine at Leuzinger. ¬†I met him in the marching band classes of Don Buck in 1955-56 as a freshman. ¬†Clay played drums. ¬†Clay was athletic, especially after he grew about 6 inches in the summer of 1958. ¬† He ran cross-country for the Olympians. ¬† Clay had an affinity for boxing, and when Gordon Shaw of the California materials Company (on the corner of Rosecrans and Inglewood Avenue, directly behind my home on 142nd Street) ¬†decided to find a young trainee for a new boxing facility he constructed at his company, Clay was convinced Shaw that he was The Man. ¬† As memorable as Clay is for his boxing, his movie acting, his later career as a college student and school teacher, and as my friend, to me he is most memorable as the high school buddy who by dictate and example taught me racial tolerance and human understanding in an era of remarkable stress. ¬† ¬† There was not a racist bone in his body; and he stood against intolerance in the late 1950s when the nation was torn asunder by problems of integration and civil rights. ¬†In that most-meaningful fight Clay was the unequaled heavyweight champion of the world. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† In 1983 I dedicated my book, Blacks and White TV: African-Americans in Television since 1948, to Clay Hodges. ¬†With that dedication I tried to pay honor to what he advocated, what he fought for. ¬†He was the champ!
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