How the NAIA Tournament in Kansas City Helped Destroy Racial Barriers in College Athletics

For Immediate Release:
February 6, 2012
Contact: Lorenzo Butler
816.701.3669
How the NAIA Tournament in Kansas City Helped Destroy Racial Barriers in College Athletics

Kansas City Star sports reporter Blair Kerkhoff explains why the NAIA basketball tournament in Kansas City was instrumental in the demolition of racial barriers in college athletics on Sunday, February 19, 2012, at 2 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.

Long before the NCAA and NIT tournaments accepted them, college basketball teams from historically black colleges and universities found a home in Kansas City. The basketball tournament of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics was a fixture on the city's sports calendar; but to African Americans around the country, it meant something special. To them, Kansas City was a place where racial barriers came tumbling down.

Kerkhoff, the Big 12/national sports reporter for The Kansas City Star, shares the stirring story of how coaches such as John McLendon and players such as Travis "Machine Gun" Grant delighted crowds and played a significant role in effecting social change.

This presentation is part of the Missouri Valley Sundays series, a program of the Missouri Valley Special Collections at the Central Library. The series is made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Admission is free. RSVP online or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available at the Library District Parking Garage at 10th & Baltimore.