Lincoln High School sits on the corner of Malcolm X Boulevard and Elsie Faye Heggins Street in south Dallas, a cultural center for the city's African-American community. Malcolm X was one of the foremost black leaders in American history. Heggins paved the way for more minority leadership in Dallas.
The high school is nearly 80 percent black and almost 20 percent Hispanic. Whites make up less than 1 percent of the student population.
That's where Donovan Bonner grew up. Missouri offered him a free college education in exchange for his talents on the football field.
When he arrived on campus, he found himself in a world where just 7 percent of his classmates were black, too. But that's not uncommon for schools that share a region or SEC division with Mizzou.
The University of Georgia has a 7.6 percent black population. It's less than 5 percent at Oklahoma. At Tennessee: 7.3 percent. Kentucky: 8 percent. Arkansas: 5.1 percent.
"It was a culture shock," Bonner, who graduated in 2014, told Sports on Earth this week. "Columbia isn't a racist town, but incidents do happen."
Those incidents Bonner is referring to have been happening too often in recent months for black students to remain silent.
The University of Missouri campus has become ground zero for the latest chapter in a growing swell of American racial unrest. A student group called Concerned Student 1950 -- a reference to the first black students admitted to the university -- has championed the latest cause. Its most public member, grad student Jonathan Butler, went on a weeklong hunger strike, leveraging what he had -- his own health -- to try to spawn change.
Other racial incidents have spawned nationwide debate and international attention in recent months. None was bigger than the riots that broke out in Ferguson, Mo., last year when Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black male, was shot by police and the officer who pulled the trigger was not charged with a crime.
St. Louis is home to 9,519 Missouri students who are enrolled for the Fall 2015 semester. So it's not hard to imagine that a few who were on the Carnahan Quad on Monday were also near the tear gas-filled streets of Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb.
Tim Wolfe, president of the Missouri university system (campuses in Columbia, Kansas City, St. Louis and Rolla), resigned Monday after the group pushed for change in leadership, criticizing his slow, insufficient response to recent racially motivated campus incidents. Beyond mandating online diversity training for students and faculty and two fruitless meetings with Concerned Student 1950, Wolfe had done little to calm the campus unrest.
The instigating incidents included the Missouri Student Association president, who is black, being derided by racial slurs. A month later, a group from the Legion of Black Collegians encountered the same. Concerned Student 1950 confronted Wolfe at the homecoming parade, blocking his vehicle. The president did not exit, and his car reportedly struck one of the protesters before police removed them.
In response, Concerned Student 1950 released a list of demands, including Wolfe's removal and apology. Three days later, a swastika was drawn with human feces on the wall of a dorm bathroom.
The incidents are merely symptoms of a larger issue, though. At the core of the Concerned Student 1950's existence is black students feeling unwelcome on Mizzou's campus.
"I noticed early on, freshman and sophomore year -- I wasn't playing yet -- you'd go around Columbia and be in street clothes and you get different looks from individuals," Bonner said. "But when you go around with Mizzou football shirt, it's all good."
Missouri is a state school with 35,000 students. Its journalism program (of which this writer is a graduate) and athletic department attract students from around the country, but the rest of the university is mostly populated by Missouri natives. This fall, 68.5 percent of students -- about 24,000 of them -- claimed Missouri as their home state. About half of those are from Kansas City and St. Louis, the state's two biggest metropolitan areas.
Outside of Columbia and Springfield, the state has no cities with populations above 80,000 that aren't part of the Kansas City or St. Louis areas.
For many of the students that hail from more rural hometowns, Mizzou can be the first place they interact in close quarters with minority students.
In a former slave state, some roots take more generations to dry up. If college is the first time some students are exposed to people with vastly different backgrounds, there is bound to be friction on both sides of the equation somewhere.
At Mizzou, the 7 percent on campus operate largely separate from the other 93.
"There are certain locations that a person who wasn't a black athlete, if you're just a black individual, you couldn't go to," Bonner said. "Whether it's a bar or a frat house, it's just small things like that. It's almost like, 'I have the pass because I play sports.'"
A similar dynamic has played out elsewhere. At the University of Oklahoma this spring, video surfaced of Sigma Alpha Epsilon members singing a song with the line, "There will never be a nigger SAE."
Sooners linebacker Eric Striker responded with a profane rant posted on Snapchat. Striker's diatribe was fueled by rage, but built around a truth for black athletes on campus.
The students were quickly identified and expelled from the university, which also kicked the fraternity off campus. They faced punishments the perpetrators on Mizzou's campus have not. Though none of the incidents at Mizzou were caught on video, Concerned Student 1950 felt the administration failed to take its complaints seriously.
"They just sort of expected students to accept, 'These kinds of things happen here,'" said another player on Missouri's 2014 team who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Given the goings-on at Mizzou, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops was asked Monday about his handling of the racism unearthed on OU's campus in the spring.
"I was listening to [the players] and allowing them to express themselves in a manner in which they felt they needed to," Stoops said.
"I was just communicating with them on what they felt needed to happen. Wanted to be supportive and do your best to let them know how much you understood what they were going through and what they needed to express. It was very, very difficult. Very tough to work through, really."
The Sooners canceled a week of practices during that SAE controversy, instead dressing in all black and standing with interlocking arms on Owen Field. It was a very similar image to the one Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel tweeted after a players' meeting on Sunday to discuss the intended boycott.
But there's a disconnect between black players and their fellow minorities on campus that won't change anytime soon. A black linebacker isn't treated the same in a bar or at a frat house as a black engineering major.
"I had a lot of friends on the team, but I had a lot of [black] friends from back home who were at Mizzou, too," the former Mizzou player said. "It made both sides uncomfortable."
It didn't take much effort to see the inequality within the demographic. This week, players used their influence to lend a hand to blacks on campus whose voices can never reach the same volume.
"You always have to watch what you're doing. Athletes all over feel the same way. You've got to watch what you do, what you say. You feel like you have to do everything perfect," Bonner said. "You're held to a different standard than my peers at Mizzou. I can't speak for African-Americans who went to Mizzou [and didn't play sports]. There's a different deal for them. I had friends who played sports and we were treated a lot different than they were. I can't lie about that."
This is the backdrop upon which this week's events at Mizzou took place. As if there was any doubt that the university and its students see athletes and non-athletes differently, look no further than Wolfe's resignation.
Right or wrong, Concerned Student 1950 had pushed for Wolfe's resignation for about a month. Fewer than 48 hours after the football team joined the chorus, Wolfe stepped down.
If Wolfe had not resigned and the Mizzou football players had followed through on their intention to sit out Saturday against BYU at Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium, the Tigers likely would have been on the hook for $1 million for canceling the nonconference contest. (The team members now say they will return to practice and play against BYU.)
"I was disappointed that it took athletes to yield activity for it to happen. [Protesters] are still going to feel like their voice isn't strong enough," Bonner said. "Now, we just have to make sure he stepped down for the right reasons. Did he do it to help minorities make changes? Or did he do it because the football team makes a lot of money?"
Racial issues aside, Missouri's leadership had been through considerable change in recent months and years. Monday, chancellor R. Bowen Loftin announced he would transition to a new role in 2016, but he only took over for Brady Deaton in 2013. Last week, the university's Department of English submitted a unanimous vote of no confidence in Loftin's leadership.
Before him, Deaton had held the position for nearly a decade and spent 24 years as part of Mizzou's community.
Wolfe's resignation ended just a 3.5-year tenure at his post.
In March, Missouri hired Houston athletic director Mack Rhoades to run its athletic department. He replaced Mike Alden, who held the post for 17 years.
It's a lot of new faces, but the longest-tenured major stakeholder in this saga has been Pinkel. He took the Missouri job in 2000. After Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer retires this season, Oklahoma (Stoops) and Iowa (Kirk Ferentz) will be the only FBS schools with coaches in place longer than Missouri.
Pinkel has kept his job by cementing an ironclad culture unwilling to prioritize one player over the program. He's had to prove that this season, suspending starting quarterback Maty Mauk twice for disciplinary issues -- the second time for the remainder of the season -- in the midst of a 4-5 season that looks unlikely to end in a bowl game.
Pinkel also built a program where a player could tell his team he was gay before the season and word didn't leak in the media until Michael Sam made his own announcement almost a year later. (For his part, Sam has expressed his support for the campus protests.)
"I got involved because I support my players, and a young man's life [Butler] was on the line," Pinkel said. "Basically, that's what it came down to. My support of my players had nothing to do with anyone losing their job."
Bonner admitted his class "wouldn't have had the balls" to pull the trigger on a boycott, and it had nothing to do with its two consecutive SEC East titles, a goal that's out of reach for this year's 4-5 team.
Wolfe's removal alone is unlikely to accomplish much. However, the person who replaces him has no choice but to seriously pursue some change to make Missouri a more inclusive place where all can feel welcome.
It's unrealistic to expect Missouri to live out the rest of its days without another incident like the ones that sparked international news this weekend. It's not unrealistic for people like the members of Concerned Student 1950 to have a faculty doing everything it can to prevent it and support victims of these kinds of indignities.
"Black athletes, we kind of get the pass as opposed to African-American students. We're almost in a different league so to speak," Bonner said. "It kind of sucks, to be honest."
No matter which side on the issue you stand, this was an historic week on Mizzou's campus, one that will be felt for decades or more. And it's now larger than the concerns of a few.