Black History Month: The Daniels
February is Black History month, and we'd like to close out the last day of the month with a story about two long time Tri-City residents.
Edmon and Vanis Daniels are two brothers originally from Texas who moved to Pasco in the early fifties and made it their home.
Now in their seventies, they said they've faced struggles, but have also seen progress over the past six decades.
Edmon Daniels said racial discrimination was as familiar as apple pie. Back in the fifties, he said he was told that he would never make it in life... or in America's favorite past time - his passion, baseball.
"All I wanted to do was go and play and it didn't matter who threw me the ball," said Edmon.
When he was just 16 years old, the baseball coach at Pasco High School baseball said he couldn't play because he was black.
"You're frustrated all the time, you know. When you want to do something and you know that you can't, just because of your color," said Edmond.
His older brother vanis daniels says there was no point in getting mad.
"Some people embraced you, some didn't want to have anything to do with you. Period. That's just the way life was," said Vanis.
The brothers grew up in a house in East Pasco, where the black community was relegated.
"If you wanted a house on the other side of town, there was no one who was gonna loan you the money to get that house. I think it was because of color," said Edmond.
The work place was no different. A former supervisor at Hanford told Vanis he was lucky to be paid at all.
"He told me that I should be thankful I had a job. Basically if you were black, you were more than likely a janitor or you worked in the mailroom," said Vanis.
That slowly changed after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when companies were mandated to hire at least 10 percent black.
"Things change and it's changed for the better. And i think it 's because we started including all the people," said Edmond.
Edmon was also putting his passion for baseball to good use. In 1977 the brothers established Pasco Youth Baseball with just a handful of kids.
"When I started the program, I just went around the neighborhood and got kids to join... It made me feel great, that I could do something.. something I didn't have," said Edmond.
Even with all of those past struggles, Edmon says he is not bitter, just reflective. He says it's been a pretty good life for him and his family.
"If you get rid of all that hatred and start thinking about what you can do for mankind and womankind, instead of just what i can do for me," said Edmond.
"You accept that which is good for you, and you discard that which is bad for you... and you go right ahead on and do what you have to do, and it all works out," said Vanis.
Between them, Edmon and Vanis have six children, 19 grandkids, and three great grandkids. Many of their descendents have gone on to have lucrative careers in law, medicine, and even baseball.
Black History Month came of age in 1976, when America began to recognize the significance of African Americans in the American story.