Racial Segregation In Basketball

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
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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 …show more content…
It no longer discriminates against African Americans because of their skin colour but instead it focuses on how talented the player is. The social change it had in the civil rights movement was crucial in the battle against racial segregation. People like Bill Russell who demanded change allowed future African American athletes to compete. The NBA grew and prospered because of these civil rights activists who fought for African Americans all around. Finally, these efforts for the admittance of African American players in to professional basketball not only affected the players themselves but the future of

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