My First Mini Basketball Hoop Essay

My First Mini Basketball Hoop Essay

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My dad likes to joke that I came out dribbling a basketball when I was born. The truth is, he isn’t that far off. I got my first mini-basketball hoop on my first birthday, and I cannot remember a time since that basketball hasn’t played a major role in my life. So when it came time to choose a topic for this paper, it only made sense to choose something that would increase my constantly expanding knowledge of basketball. I was able to narrow my topic while browsing YouTube and deciding to watch the 1966 National Championship game between Kentucky and Texas Western-El Paso. On one side of the screen, five white Kentucky players, on the other, five African American Texas Western players. Knowing that this game was taking place right in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement, I knew right away that I needed to research how a game of this magnitude was impacting a country plagued by civil rights issues. By browsing old newspaper archives and flipping through archived yearbooks at the University of Alabama, I was able to piece together the everlasting effect that this game had not only for college sports, but for an entire nation.
In a state that did not integrate schools until 1962, and a state that would eventually play host to the tragic assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., it wouldn’t be hard to imagine a newspaper writing a hate-filled review discussing the blow college basketball had taken with starting five African American players. However, in Nashville’s “The Tennessean,” it wasn’t what the newspaper wrote that surprised its readers, it was what it didn’t. This newspaper, in a state still very much racially divided, did not once mention the pigmentation of Texas Western’s players, and instead decided to focus the outstand...


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... in the United States at that time is debatable. By researching the changes that occurred directly after the airing of the national championship game, I plan to show how this game was partially responsible for the progress of the civil rights movement at the time. I plan to use statistics regarding the increased integration of college sports following this game, as well as the reactions of states at the forefront of the fight against the civil rights movement to support my claim that this basketball game played a major role in progressing the civil rights movement in the late 1960s. Based solely on this teams ability to a unify a country so heavily divided, as well as the impact it had on even the most racially segregated of states, I will prove that this basketball team was silently one of the most impactful events to progress the ideas of the civil rights movement.

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