Game Changer: John McClendon and the Secret Game


On March 12, 1944 the "best" players in the state of North Carolina, the Duke Univeristy Medical School team, piled into two cars and went to play a basketball game.

The men driving the team made sure no one was following them.  The players didn't know who they would be playing until they got to the gym, pulled their coats up over their heads and went inside to meet the starting five of the North Carolina College of Negroes.

The ironclad rules of segregation were about to be broken.  John McClendon, the coach of the Eagles from NCCN believed basketball could challenge prejudice and bring about a new reality.

The players took the floor and sized each other up.  For some it was the first time they had ever stood that close to someone of the other skin color.  The game began.

The players on both teams kept the game a secret for decades for fear of reprisal from the Ku Klux Klan.  Was Coach McClendon right?  Could playing a basketball game create an even playing field and beyond to the recognition of equality?

32 pages  Ages 7-10  978-1467726047

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge,

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