Attucks!: Oscar Robertson and the Basketball Team That Awakened a City

by Phillip Hoose

Crispus Attucks High School was created by the KKK in the 1920s to segregate Indianapolis’s... read more

Crispus Attucks High School was created by the KKK in the 1920s to segregate Indianapolis’s Black students. The school was overcrowded and underfunded but attracted outstanding faculty. In 1950, Ray Crowe, a gifted math teacher and basketball coach, took over Attucks’ basketball program. Crowe nurtured his players on and off the court. One of these was Oscar Robertson, who had had natural talent as well as drive—he spent hours practicing. This account of the Attucks Tigers’ rise to basketball fame in 1950s Indiana moves back and forth among the stories of individuals, especially Crowe and Robertson, the team, and the social context of the times. Racism was alive and well in Indianapolis in the 1950s, but the city had never won the state basketball championship. Blacks and whites both rallied behind the Attucks Tigers, who became so dominant in high school basketball that it was the impetus for desegregation in the city. This fascinating history draws on a great deal of primary research, including original interviews. Black-and-white photographs appear throughout; sources and notes follow the narrative. (Age 11 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019

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