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Strong Inside: Perry Wallace and the Collision of Race and Sports in the South New York Times Best Seller RFK Book Awards Special Recognition Lillian Smith Book Award AAUP Books Committee Outstanding TitleThis fast paced, richly detailed biography, based on than eighty interviews, digs deep beneath the surface to reveal a complicated and profound story of sports pioneering than we ve come to expect from the genre Perry Wallace s unusually insightful and honest introspection reveals his inner thoughts throughout his journeyWallace entered kindergarten the year that Brown v Board of Education upended separate but equal As ayear old, he sneaked downtown to watch the sit ins at Nashville s lunch counters A week after Martin Luther King Jr s I Have a Dream speech, Wallacehe entered high school, and later saw the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts On March his Pearl High School basketball team won Tennessee s first integrated state tournament the same day Adolph Rupp s all white Kentucky Wildcats lost to the all black Texas Western Miners in an iconic NCAA title gameThe world seemed to be opening up at just the right time, and when Vanderbilt recruited himPerry, Wallace courageously accepted the assignment to desegregate the SEC His experiences on campus and in the hostile gymnasiums of the Deep South turned out to be nothing like he ever imaginedOn campus, he encountered the leading civil rights figures of the day, including Stokely Carmichael, Martin Luther King Jr Fannie Lou Hamer, and Robert Kennedy and he led Vanderbilt s small group of black students to a meeting with the university chancellor to push for better treatmentOn the basketball court, he experienced an Ole Miss boycott and the rabid hate of the Mississippi State fans in Starkville Following his freshman year, the NCAA instituted the Lew Alcindor rule, which deprived Wallace of his signature move, the slam dunkDespite this attempt to limit the influence of a rising tide of black stars, the final basket of Wallace s college career was a cathartic and defiant dunk, and the story Wallace told to the Vanderbilt Human Relations Committee and later The Tennessean was not the simple story of a triumphant trailblazer that many people wanted to hear Yes, he had gone from hearing racial epithets when he appeared in his dormitory to being voted as the university s most popular student, but, at the risk of being labeled ungrateful, he spoke truth to power in describing the daily slights and abuses he had overcome and what Martin Luther King had called the agonizing loneliness of a pioneer

15 thoughts on “Strong Inside: Perry Wallace and the Collision of Race and Sports in the South

  1. Paul M. Wilson Paul M. Wilson says:

    The ongoing struggle for civil rights in America has many heroes Some are well known, and some less so Strong Inside tells a story that people need to know Perry Wallace, who grew up in the segre

  2. Candace Kovacic Fleischer Candace Kovacic Fleischer says:

    I had trouble putting Strong Inside down What a wonderful book Andrew Maraniss research was incredibly thorough and his writing excellent Perry Wallace was remarkably candid in his interviews with

  3. M. F. White M. F. White says:

    I was in the same class as Perry Wallace at Vanderbilt The book s description seems to me accurate, including the student body s cluelessness not excluding myself about what it was like to be a blac

  4. gene smitherman gene smitherman says:

    The 1960s was a time of remarkable attempts to move this nation forward as the civil rights movement urged and pushed us toward greater civil rights Great things were happening, but at great human co

  5. SudznKulture SudznKulture says:

    I was very grateful after reading this book Outside the lines of reading criteria you get in university and social studies on historically documented figures in American culture, Mr Wallace s story sh

  6. billy d ballard billy d ballard says:

    No one but those that suffered through the hate directed at them in the 1960 s, and even today, can accurately articulate what it s like to be black in America Before I read this book, I read a critic

  7. G. Themann G. Themann says:

    Having attended Vanderbilt at the same time that Perry was there make this an even eye opening story Perry was an unbelievable basketball player, but an even astounding and unbelievable person It is n

  8. DCH DCH says:

    Perry was a hero growing up as a white guy in Nashville Reading this book he is even of a hero I had no idea that he endured the racism that he did in cities like Starkville and Oxford, Mississippi Also

  9. kho58 kho58 says:

    I bought two copies as gifts for the hubby and son A tremendous, heartbreaking, and true walk through SEC basketball in the past If you love basketball, you need to read this book.

  10. Alee Karpf Alee Karpf says:


  11. Chester A. Schmidt IV Chester A. Schmidt IV says:

    If you like basketball, sports, civil rights history, cultural analysis, or just good storytelling, this is the book for you Maraniss really captures context and the daily struggles of a true, relatively un

  12. Kindle Customer Kindle Customer says:

    I was there At Vanderbilt from 1965 1969 and knew some of the people who were quoted in the book, as well as living through the events of that time, the Impact Symposium, Stokely Carmichael, Allen Ginsberg,

  13. Lee Coulter Lee Coulter says:

    Having played basketball against Perry Wallace in high school and graduated from Vanderbilt a year behind him, I was there but I was young and clueless about the significance of those days and the big and lar

  14. MJN Go MJN Go says:

    I wish every American citizen would read this book Perry Wallace s life story shows the depths and the heights of American life as it played out in Nashville, TN, before, during, and after the Civil Rights str

  15. Garth F. Fort Garth F. Fort says:

    Great read for a man who lived those years in Nashville, Tennessee, Spot on correct on tons of the details Amazing acfcount.Garth F Fort

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