Last night I visited the Apollo Theater and attended the New York premiere of a documentary called "Black Magic", a film that portrays the intersection of basketball history and the Civil Rights Movement. The film is produced by Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, and will air on ESPN in two parts March 16th/17th with no commercial breaks. Aside from Earl Monroe, who is prominently featured in the film, there were pivotal in the desegregation of basketball, on a collegiate and professional level, including John McLendon, Bob Love, and Pee Wee Kirkland.
The scene at the Apollo Theater was one to remember - people were lined up down the block to get in to what was a powerful two hour preview - Earl Monroe spoke, Love & Kirkland were in attendance, among others, and Mayor Dinkins welcomed the crowd (all 4 are major New York City icons and active in the community to this day).
Much of what was depicted of John McLendon comes from a book "Breaking Through", which is a biography written by my uncle Milton Katz, who is a professor at the Kansas City Art Institute. He appears several times in the movie discussing McLendon, as well as the Secret Game, the first official game between a black and a white collegiate team, which was played in secret to avoid conflict.
If you are interested in history, interested in Basketball, or want to learn more about the Civil Rights Movement, you should watch this film.