But he soon learned that he would be the first African American to play for the Redskins.
"I never thought of Washington as a Southern city," he said. "To me [he was raised in Arkansas], Washington was North." Reality hit Mitchell shortly after the Redskins re- turned from training camp in 1962. "I began to go places, and people kinda got up- tight," he said. "All of a sudden I thought, `Holy hell.' Because I hadn't experienced that.
"There were restaurants I couldn't go in . . . Ted Marchibroda [then a Redskin assistant coach] and I came out of the offices [on 9th Street, NW] to a place across the street where the coaches used to eat all the time. He invited me in. We walk up to the door and all of a sudden the guy doesn't know him. I was so embarrassed for Ted, because I caught on pretty quick. So I said: `There's another place where I've been wanting to eat.' I didn't even know the name of the damn place. I just pointed to the first joint I saw." Mitchell also remembered being in Duke Zeibert's restaurant once and having a man walk by and spit on his shoe.