by John Coy
Illustrated by Randy DuBurke
Nonfiction Picture Book
Copy obtained from public library
When they piled into cars and drove through Durham, North Carolina, the members of the Duke University Medical School basketball team only knew that they were going somewhere to play basketball. They didn't know whom they would play against. But when they came face to face with their opponents, they quickly realized this secret game was going to make history.
Discover the true story of how in 1944, Coach John McLendon orchestrated a secret game between the best players from a white college and his team from the North Carolina College of Negroes. At a time of widespread segregation and rampant racism, this illegal gathering changed the sport of basketball forever.
I love reading about bits of history that are not widely known. Coach Mclendon believed that basketball could change prejudices. The Duke University players had to cover their heads and block car windows so they could not be seen. Since this was during racial segregation, it was illegal for these two teams to play each other. At first, they didn't even want to touch each other. By then end? Well, you won't get any spoilers from me.
The font looks like the story was written on an old typewriter and many of the pages have a light blue background giving it an "older" feel.
The story is inspirational and completely relevant today.
I think it would make a great read aloud for grades 3-6 near the beginning of the school year to spark discussion about differences and prejudices.
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