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U of L Hall Of Famer Von Macklin On Basketball And Breaking The Color Barrier

J. Tyler Franklin

This Sunday, the Yearlings Club in association with the University of Louisville is presenting “A Salute to African-American Athletes: Trailblazers Who Broke Color Barriers in College Sports.”

Among the honorees is Von Macklin, the first female African-American basketball player to get a scholarship at U of L. I spoke with Macklin about her time at the school. Listen to our conversation in the player above.

On her life in basketball prior to attending U of L:

"I learned to play during a summer. I never played before, I was a cheerleader at the junior college prior to that. So, it was exciting, I don't know...it was a good time for me. God was good to me because as I said, I did not play basketball in high school. I only played at the University of Louisville for two years."

On how she ended up at U of L:

"I just wanted to complete my education; I had two years completed before entering the University of Louisville. I'm originally from Alabama and I attended a junior college in Alabama which was called Alexander City Junior College. So when I got married and moved to Louisville, I called over at U of L to see if they had scholarships and the coach — coach Becky Hudson — said, 'how tall are you?' And I told her 5'9, 5'9 and a half, and I never heard anything from her after that. So when tryouts began, I came over and tried out and made the team."

On how she felt at the time knowing she was a part of school history:

"If you want to know the truth, at that time, that wasn't on my mind. In fact, I didn't know I was the first to receive a scholarship until maybe a couple months ago. It wasn't discussed, and like I said, I was there to make sure I went to class, got good grades and worked hard on the basketball team so I could keep that scholarship."

“A Salute to African-American Athletes:Trailblazers Who Broke Color Barriers in College Sports” will be held Sunday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. at the Yearlings Club in Louisville. 

Bill Burton is the Morning Edition host for LPM. Email Bill at bburton@lpm.org.