A shopper walks past a bronze sculpture of famed Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach at Qunicy Market in downtown Boston

Credit: Stephan Savoia/AP

All Revved Up: BPD Fumbles Black History Month Tweet By Honoring A White Man

February 13, 2018

The Boston Police Department came under fire Monday after tweeting about famed Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach, a white man, in honor of Black History Month.

“In honor of #BlackHistoryMonth we pay tribute to @celtics legend #RedAuerbach for being the 1st @NBA coach to draft a black player in 1950, field an all African-American starting five in 1964 and hire the league’s 1st African-American head coach (BIll Russell) in 1966,” the Boston Police Department tweeted Sunday night.

The BPD removed the tweet about an hour later after receiving immediate backlash on Twitter for celebrating a white man for Black History Month.

The BPD posted an apology tweet Monday afternoon saying their “intentions were never to offend.”

Reverends Irene Monroe and Emmett Price gave their take on the tweet on another edition of All Revved Up on Boston Public Radio Monday.

The two reverends called the tweet another example of whitewashing history and a continuation of the white savior narrative that has been pushed into black history.

“The whole purpose of Black History Month is to speak the names and talk about the accolades of those African-Americans, those black people, who have contributed greatly to American society so we don’t forget them,” Price said. “It is blind. It is whitewashing history.”

Price suggested that instead of honoring Auerbach’s role in drafting the first African-American basketball player, they should have just honored the actual player.

“Chuck Cooper is the name of the unnamed black person who was the first to be drafted in 1950. So we don’t know his name, but we do know Red Auerbach's name, which is the conflation of what's going on,” said Price

Monroe ended the conversation by saying, “You can’t seem to tell black history without having a white savior.”

Reverend Irene Monroe is a syndicated columnist for The Huffington Post and Bay Windows, and Reverend Emmett Price is a professor of worship, church & culture and founding executive director of the Institute for the Study of the Black Christian Experience at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. To hear All Revved Up in its entirety, click on the audio link above.

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