The Unknown Story of Bill Garrett and the Integration of College Basketball
Getting Open is more than "just" a basketball book. In the years immediately following World War II, sports were at the heart of America's common culture. And in the fledgling civil rights efforts of African Americans across the country, which would coalesce two decades later into the Movement, the playing field was where progress occurred publicly and symbolically.
Indiana was an unlikely place for a civil rights breakthrough. It was stone-cold isolationist, widely segregated, and hostile to change. But in the late 1940s, Indiana had a leader of the largest black YMCA in the world, who viewed sports as a wedge for broader integration; a visionary university president, who believed his institution belonged to all citizens of the state; a passion for high school and college basketball; and a teenager who was, as nearly as any civil rights pioneer has ever been, the perfect person for his time and role. This is the story of how they came together to move the country toward getting open.
Father-daughter authors Tom Graham and Rachel Graham Cody spent seven years reconstructing a full portrait of how these elements came together; interviewing Garrett's family, friends, teammates, and coaches, and digging through archives and dusty closets to tell this compelling, long-forgotten story.