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Petitioning President Barack Obama

Please Invite the Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars to the White House

The Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars were a Little League team comprised of African American youth from Charleston, South Carolina.  The team was denied the opportunity to participate in the 1955 Little League World Series (LLWS) due to a collective boycott of South Carolina's 61 white leagues.  Little League Baseball, to its credit, refused the state's request to host a segregated tournament but also barred the Cannon Street team from competing in the LLWS due to an existing rule prohibiting teams from advancing via forfeit.  However, they were invited to attend the championship game as guests of Little League President Peter J. McGovern.  The following year, rather than integrate youth baseball, white teams from several southern states seceded from Little League Baseball and formed a segregated Dixie League. 

In 1957, merely two years after the Cannon Street All-Stars' disheartening experience, a Little League team from Monterrey, Mexico became the first non-U.S. participant to win the World Series.  They were invited to the White House as a reward for their victory, adhering to a tradition that continues to this day. The Cannon Street All-Stars, sons of American veterans, were denied the chance to receive such an honor. 

Rather than succumb to bitterness, these fourteen boys have grown into strong, loving, and upstanding citizens.  Their lives are a testament to the character and courage learned through playing America's pastime.  Over the past two decades, team historian Gus Holt and other supporters have worked to publicize the team's story in hopes of having the team recognized at the White House. 

We believe that such an event would qualify as one of those "teachable moments" that President Obama often refers to.  All of us, black and white, conservative and liberal, want our children to face fewer barriers to opportunity than past generations.  We flinch when we see children treated poorly because they are innocent and represent our future.  A meeting between the President, First Lady and the Cannon Street All-Stars will serve as a powerful symbol of our collective need to love and protect all of our children and serve as an important step towards racial reconciliation in our nation. 

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