Learie Constantine and a thread that runs through West Indies cricket history | Andy Bull

by Theguardian

Cricket

Matches between West Indies and England are never just about cricket: the Tests starting on 8 July look no different

When Learie Constantine first came to Nelson in 1929, the rag-and-bone man was the only other black man living in the town. Little kids from the school over the road used to peep in through the windows of Constantine’s house, trying to steal glimpses of their local cricket club’s new pro. They pointed at him in the street, asked him if he’d been working down a mine, whether he could wash it off with soap.

Hard as it was, Constantine decided that most of the racism he faced grew out of ignorance rather than spite. Most, but not all. As he found out when he met Jim Blanckenberg, the South Africa all-rounder he had replaced.

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