A NYPL Best Book for Teens of 2018
A 2018 Booklist Youth Editors' Choice
A Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature Best Book of 2018
A Kirkus Reviews Best YA Nonfiction Book of 2018
An ALSC Notable Children's Book of 2019
A YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award Nominee
The true story of the all-black high school basketball team that broke the color barrier in segregated 1950s Indiana, masterfully told by National Book Award winner Phil Hoose.
By winning the state high school basketball championship in 1955, ten teens from an Indianapolis school meant to be the centerpiece of racially segregated education in the state shattered the myth of their inferiority. Their brilliant coach had fashioned an unbeatable team from a group of boys born in the South and raised in poverty. Anchored by the astonishing Oscar Robertson, a future college and NBA star, the Crispus Attucks Tigers went down in history as the first state champions from Indianapolis and the first all-black team in U.S. history to win a racially open championship tournament—an integration they had forced with their on-court prowess.
From native Hoosier and award-winning author Phillip Hoose comes this true story of a team up against impossible odds, making a difference when it mattered most.
This title has Common Core connections.
In this rousing history of Indiana high school state basketball championships in the 1950s, Hoose (The Boys Who Challenged Hitler) explores the racism prevalent in the state and the black players who triumphed over it. Hoose chronicles the 25 years between the opening of all-black Crispus Attucks High School in 1927 and its first opportunity to play in the finals of the state tournament, laying bare the ugly forces the players had to overcome: the Ku Klux Klan, the poverty that made owning a basketball a pipe dream for most black kids, inadequate school facilities, biased referees, condescending civic authorities who cheated the state champions out of the parade a white team would have enjoyed, and more. Hoose balances this expos of basketball's racist history with thrilling game accounts, character insight, and great sympathy. Oscar Robertson may be the best-known player from this era, but Crispus Attucks's basketball coach, Ray Crowe, who molded the teams, becomes the real hero in this masterfully told story. Archival material and sources are included. Ages 12 18.