Kevin Walker honoring his father
Kevin Walker honoring his father
Of the best awards i've ever gotten.> larry bird and john wooden.
Odds are these are the first two names that come to mind when you hear indiana state basketball.
But what about clarence walker?
He became a sycamore in 1946, but little did we know that he would leave a lasting legacy in the civil rights movement.
It's a legacy his son kevin is still sharing today.
<clarence walker was never one for the spotlight.
Just ask his son kevin jordan walker son kevin jordan walker how often his dad talked about his time at indiana state.
He never really told too many people about it.
He didn't really tell us about it.
But as kids, being inquisitive, we started looking at photo albums and we started seeing things and we started asking questions to him.
And that's when we really found out he played basketball for john wooden.
In the mid 1940's clarence made the three hour drive from east chicago down to terre haute in hopes of getting his degree, playing basketball, and returning home to his family and friends.
Walker had no intentions of being famous but in 1947, with a young john wooden at the helm, walker became a face for the civil rights movement when the naib refused to let isu play in their tournament with walker on their team.
Years later, clarence's story of oppresion would be his son kevin's first glimpse of social injustice.
Kevi} the first reaction was stunned.
Because we grew up in a neighborhood of all nationalities and cultures.
So a lot of the discrimination, a lot of the racial tension and what not, we were kind of oblivious of.
The following year the naib lifted their ban and allowed african americans to play.
And in 1948 clarence walker became the first black college basketball player to play in a national tounament.
But it's the message of unity that still sticks with his son.
Kevi} you can be solo or you can have a team.
He was part of a team, the coach was the head of the team, and what one got, they all got.
That's huge, that's commitment.
That shows the character not only of the coach but of the players to even buy into the thought process of colorless.
It's been over 70 years since clarence made history at isu and when his story found it's way to one local organization here in terre haute, the founder's reached out to kevin to see how they could honor his father's memory.
I was really thinking about how we could capture john wooden and his time in terre haute.
And in studying john wooden, i came across the clarence walker story.
And i just became amazed and moved by the story.
Kevi} it was surprising that i got the call from gary and logan, it was very surprising, but i took it as a challenge.
And after we talked on the phone it was just crystal clear this is something i had to do.
Symbolizing the barriers that stand before us kevin broke threw the wall and made his shot.
Kevin jordan walker, son of clarence jordan walker.
A man determined to be defined by his actions, not his skin color, as he continues his father's legacy.
I've learned so much, kevin has actually turned into a role model of mine.
He's just a great guy, strong values, hard work ethic, all around great man and role model for myself and so model for myself and so many other people.
Kevi} when it comes to black lives matter and people say, well all lives matter, black is part of all.
So if something is happening to black, it's happening to us all in one way or the other.
So when people see it