Racial Segregation In Basketball

1330 Words 6 Pages
The fight against racial segregation in professional basketball
Racial segregation and basketball may seem like two separate topics; however, they had a substantial impact on each other during the 1900’s. Racial segregation was a prominent problem for African Americans in their daily lives but they were also mistreated in professional sports. They were rarely allowed to play in professional leagues because of the colour of their skin instead of being respected for their talent. Although in the 1900’s African Americans faced brutal standards of racial inequality, being admitted into professional basketball represented a social change in civil rights, was accomplished due to the efforts of people who found a need for change, created opportunities
…show more content…
They had to fight for their rights to be treated equally within the community. Not only was the public against them, but the law as well. It made their lives even more challenging by separating them, restricting them, and putting them at a disadvantage. The law in the 1900’s banned African Americans from bathrooms, theatres, and even legislatures and juries. They tried to separate them from the Europeans because of the way they looked. However, African Americans demanded change and fought against this racial segregation by using civil disobedience and non-violent protests. Civil rights activists risked and even lost their lives for the fight against racial segregation. Not only were African Americans mistreated in their community, they also had difficulty competing in the world of sports. One of the biggest up and coming sports in the 1900’s was basketball, this growing sport was progressively becoming one of the most popular sports in the country and the effect it had on racial segregation was …show more content…
Harry “Bucky” Lew, Chuck Cooper, Earl Lloyd, Harold Hunter, Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton, and Hank DeZonie were the first six men who paved the way for future African American players in professional basketball. Harry “Bucky” Lew was the first ever recorded African American to sign a professions basketball contract. His entrance in to the New England basketball league and with the Lowell, MA’s Pawtucket Athletic Club in 1902 was one of the first steps for the development of professional basketball for African Americans. An example where racial segregation really showed in professional basketball occurred when the manager of the Pawtucket Athletic Club chose to play four players against five due to injuries instead of playing Harry Lew. “The fans got real mad,” Lew remarks about that game, “and they almost started a riot, screaming to let me play. That did it”. Despite being racially segregated due to the colour of his skin, he was allowed to play because of the people who wanted him to compete and this was a step forward for African Americans like Harry “Bucky” Lew. Harry Lew was just one example out of the six players who really shaped the course of basketball for African Americans. From being first to play professional basketball to first African American

Related Documents