Nearly 50 years after first visit, baker returns to a different town b

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Nationals Manager Dusty Baker says hello to Richard Ryles, whose family he stayed with while he was in spring training as a Brave. Top fast food restaurants Washington Post photo by Toni L. Fast food restaurants list Sandys

A Home Depot stands where West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium used to be. American fast food restaurants Its old address, 755 Hank Aaron Drive, now marks a well-manicured entrance to the West Palm Beach home of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Restaurants fast food Nearly 50 years ago, Dusty Baker walked those streets as a precocious Braves draft pick barely old enough to drink.

He usually headed out behind Municipal Stadium to Clear Lake, and his roommate Ralph Garr usually came with him. Food restaurants near me open now Neighborhood kids kept their eyes peeled for Baker and Garr after practice so they could show those real, live baseball stars the best places to fish. Healthy fast food restaurants Sometimes, signs warned against fishing from the banks of Clear Lake. All fast food restaurants Most times, Baker remembers now, he and Garr pretended not to see them.

But for black men in 1960s Florida, some rules could not be ignored. Local food restaurants near me Baker and Garr and the rest of the black Braves players could not move freely in the white parts of town. Good fast food restaurants While their white teammates stayed in luxury hotels nearer the water, Baker, Garr, Aaron and other black players found homes with host families in the black neighborhoods, where they became accessible, treasured members of what was then a thriving African American community, according to conversations with several members of that community who still live there today.

Those who never left, who watched that culturally vibrant and economically sound community collapse in the desegregated decades that followed, still remember when Baker, Garr and the rest would come to town. Food for restaurants Half a century later, Baker’s return as manager of the Washington Nationals provides a window into all that has changed in West Palm Beach since his earliest days there – and that change does not often bring progress without bringing a few complications along, too.

Richard Ryles was 7 years old when he met Dusty Baker, the cool young Californian with the best-smelling car he had ever smelled. Popular fast food restaurants His mother, Gwen Ryles, heard Aaron was hunting for host families for his younger teammates. Top ten fast food restaurants Garr and his family moved in for the spring of 1969, and Baker became a frequent visitor.

Richard had a stagecoach bed. Best food restaurants He slept on the top mattress while Garr’s two children slept on the bottom. Local food restaurants Baker stayed at a place nearby but always showed up with the same greeting.

“He would come on in and say, ‘What are you cooking?’ ” Gwen Ryles said. Top 5 fast food restaurants “He was like family.”

Gwen taught school. Food and restaurants near me She had grown up in West Palm Beach, a place built along racial lines that was therefore slow to blur them.

Palm Beach, or “the Island,” as locals call it, was laid out in 1893 by oil and railroad magnate Henry Morrison Flagler, who created a resort town by extending his Florida East Coast Railway. Restaurants food near me He bought the mainland to the west of the island, now West Palm Beach, and planned a city for the workers. Restaurants near me fast food Many of the names he gave to roads in that worker city – Clematis, Rosemary and Tamarind – have not changed.

But racial divisions became an immediate byproduct of Flagler’s plan because African-Americans living in West Palm Beach often commuted to serve wealthy whites on the island. Find fast food restaurants A separate but strong African-American community emerged on the mainland – one so enamored with baseball that one West Palm Beach native remembered residents could walk down the streets and not miss a pitch of Jackie Robinson’s games with the Dodgers, which wafted from radios out of open windows.

By the 1950s, that community had schools, doctors, cleaners, restaurants and even a few nightclubs. Best food restaurants near me One, the Sunset Lounge, attracted performers like Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie and other jazz legends, as well as patrons like Baker and his fellow Braves players.

Then the Supreme Court’s 1954 ruling in Brown v. New fast food restaurants Board of Education shifted the status quo. Chain food restaurants Slowly, Florida began what Ryles remembered as a less-than-enthusiastic effort to desegregate its schools. Fast food restaurants in the area More than a decade after the ruling, Gwen Ryles was sent to teach at South Olive Elementary School, an all-white school in the Palm Beach Lakes South neighborhood, and she took Richard with her. Nearby food restaurants School officials tried to put him in special education.

“Had my mother not been there,” said Ryles, who now has a law degree from Howard University, “that probably would have happened.”

But among his African-American friends, Ryles’ ties to Braves players made him a star. Food restaurants nearby Around the time Braves workouts ended each day, the neighborhood kids would find a sudden enthusiasm for shooting hoops in the family driveway, even though there was a perfectly good park nearby. Fast food restaurants in this area Eventually Baker and Garr would pull up in Baker’s Thunderbird, and the kids would be rewarded for their patience.

Ryles’s white classmates never believed him when he told them he knew actual Braves players. Fast food chain restaurants So one day, when Ryles was in first grade, Baker and Garr headed to South Olive Elementary.

“I still see some of my white classmates from that elementary school,” Ryles said, “and they still remember to this day when Dusty Baker and Ralph Garr came to visit me at school. Open food restaurants near me They say that was the coolest thing that ever happened to them.”

Baker grew up in Sacramento, 3,000 miles and a social light-year away from the South. Fast food restaurants open He had only read about segregation there – heard but never understood because things were different in Northern California. Food restaurants near my location The night before the 1967 draft, he prayed the Braves would not be the team to take him.

“When I got drafted,” Baker said, “I was like ‘Lord, you didn’t hear me.’ “

But the newest Brave headed across the universe to West Palm Beach and to a quick education in the racial realities of that unfamiliar part of the country. Food restaurants around me When his minor league teams bussed through Arkansas, his white teammates would have to bring him food because he and his black teammates could not safely get off the bus. Most popular fast food restaurants When he played in Richmond, he could not live where he wanted, restricted to the black side of the bridge.

“You thought all people with an accent [thought that way]. Food chain restaurants But I learned that black and white people in the south were closer than you thought,” Baker said. Junk food restaurants “Most of them were Southern Baptists, same religion. Restaurants and food Everybody ate grits, chicken fried steak and collard greens – same food.”

But because he ended up in Atlanta, Baker said, he met prominent African American leaders like Ralph Abernathy, a close adviser to Martin Luther King Jr., and Maynard Jackson, the first African American mayor of Atlanta. Food near me restaurants He also met Jimmy Carter, then the governor of Georgia, and knew Carter’s mother – “Mama Lillian,” who Baker says used to call him “my little Dusty.”

The Braves traded Baker to the Los Angeles Dodgers before the 1976 season, by which time a court ruling had forced slow-to-change Palm Beach County schools to integrate once and for all. Fast food and restaurants In some cases, locals say “integration” meant bussing black children a half-hour or more from traditionally African American neighborhoods to white areas, just to fill requirements. Restaurants american food In West Palm Beach, all-black high schools were downgraded to junior high schools when the groups combined, according to former city commissioner and lifelong resident Robbie Littles, who said many principals and deans lost those positions in the move.

White stores started allowing African Americans to try on clothes, and white restaurants started serving black patrons, too. American food restaurants Businesses on Rosemary Avenue lost customers to white establishments.

For all the symbolic importance of integration, for all it meant to the bruising battle for civil rights, those like Littles, who lived it, say the process came with some cost to those in the African American neighborhoods of West Palm Beach. Worst fast food restaurants Over time, they watched as a once-thriving neighborhood on Rosemary Avenue succumbed to the new, desegregated economic reality.

Baker and his teammates would hardly recognize their old haunts now. Fast food restaurants usa Many of the buildings in those neighborhoods are gone, or the houses are boarded up, the old businesses marked by faded paint. Restaurants and fast food The Sunset Lounge, its yellow, blue and purple paint job weathered to pastel, stands alone, a shuttered monument among boarded-up buildings.

“You see a lot of minorities that are working at events, guarding buildings or halls, you know what I mean?” Baker said. Most fast food restaurants “You get the feeling they might not be invited in, but they can guard the henhouse.”

West Palm Beach has trouble fielding a Little League team, according to former assistant recreation director Dan Calloway, who is hoping to entice Major League Baseball’s RBI program to help reestablish the game’s hold on the region. Fast food restaurants in america Plans exist to renovate the Sunset Lounge as an attempt to inject life into that historic neighborhood. Top fast food restaurants 2016 But as Ryles, who went on to the University of Illinois and is now a personal injury attorney, put it, “the town has pretty much left the African American community behind.”

But he and Baker kept up. Fast food restaurants in my area When Ryles needed advice, he called Baker. What fast food restaurants are open When Baker’s baseball travels brought him nearby, Ryles went to the games. Famous fast food restaurants When Baker arrived at spring training in mid-February, he and Ryles took a drive. Best fast food restaurants in the world They chatted on the phone as each drove his car, heading for Ryles’s home. Top 10 worst fast food restaurants As they passed the place where the old stadium used to stand on the right, Ryles stopped the conversation and told Baker to look left, to the top of a 12-story building.

“Names were up there – Rosenthal, Levy . . . How many fast food restaurants in the us and Ryles,” Baker said. How many fast food restaurants in america “I said, ‘Man, is that you!? I don’t have my name on a building! You’ve come a long way.’ “

Not far from that building are the banks of the lake where Ryles and the other neighborhood kids advised Baker and Garr to fish all those decades ago. Cheap fast food restaurants near me Now Baker has arrangements with the owner of the West Palm Beach Yacht Club to take him fishing on a yacht on his next day off.

“It’s a trip looking back, huh?” Baker said, sitting in a Port St. Close fast food restaurants near me Lucie dugout in late February, remembering it all. Closest fast food restaurants near me “But we’ve still got a long way to go.”

A few minutes later, Baker got up and began sauntering out to batting practice. All fast food restaurants near me Halfway to the cage, he stopped, removed his trademark toothpick from his mouth and permitted a grin to spread across his 67-year-old face.

“I was just thinking, all those years of not being able to live where you wanted to,” Baker said. Local fast food restaurants near me “Now I come back, and I’m living in a penthouse on Juno Beach.”

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