ESPN: "The Pony Express " - Black Sports History Uncovered , After 50 Years.

In 1965, against impossible odds, all-black Durham, North Carolina's Hillside High's basketball team fought bigotry and poverty, to become State Champions, fulfilling a vow five members made as freshmen. Their records still stand. - A true story.
By: Gene Cartwright,
32 Minutes of Greatness
32 Minutes of Greatness
May 16, 2011 - PRLog -- Years before Michael Jordan, James Worthy, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and many other legendary NBA stars, there were: Daniel McLaurin III, William Harris, Michael Hayes; George Outlaw, John Bullock, Greg Munroe, Marshall Hill, Jimmy Mercer, Larry Crawford, and Hollis Vines. These and other feared members of Durham, North Carolina’s, Hillside High School Hornets basketball team were known as “The Pony Express.” They were "Showtime" before there was "Showtime." Consider this: former NBA star, John Lucas was once their ball boy.

Of course, you have likely never heard of these trailblazers. That’s fine; credit ‘Jim Crow’ bigotry and wide-spread concealment of black achievement, for that. You could, once do that, but no longer. In paraphrased words of the late, Dr. Martin Luther King: “Truth pressed to earth will rise again.” So, let it rise.

Thanks to author Daniel McLaurin's memoir, "32 Minutes of Greatness", ( published in 2009 by Falcon Creek Books, following ESPN's Lisa Salter's expert interview of five of the team's members, this treasured history is being revealed. It is fifty years overdue.


Read Page-Turning excerpt:

In 1962, on what seemed just another hot, ordinary September day, Daniel and four fellow ninth-grade friends, sat on the curb at the corners of Lawson, and Concord streets. A still segregated, Hillside High School loomed behind them. On that day, and against all odds, they made a vow. Each individually, and together, vowed to become champions; and to always support each other. Three years later, this day would prove to be anything but ordinary.

This true story of the historic achievements of Coach Carl Easterling and his Hillside High School “Pony Express” basketball team have survived purposeful denial and lack of recognition, spanning nearly a half century. During an era of overt bigotry and racism that saw the blossoming of the Civil Rights Movement, Hillside High School teachers, parents and students fought to survive and excel. All fought for what America’s broader society took for granted.

Coach Easterling and his assistants were not simply interested in their players' athletic prowess; he insisted they excel, academically. Coach, who was also a math teacher, posted his players' grades on the gymnasium door for all to see.

Despite their accomplishments under the father-figure leadership of Coach Easterling and his staff, no major colleges or universities came calling; there were no scholarships offered. These unmatched achievments were buried at the bottom of the dust-bin of history. North Carolina, the apparent incubator of basketball greats and lore, has failed, even now, to fully recognize this history. Coach's name cannot be found on any 'Hall of Fame' registry.

Still, some measure of recognition has sprouted like leaves of grass through cracks in age-old concrete. Truth will always rise. So much about the pre-integration history of African Americans remains to be unearthed. The effects of the denigrating, dehumanizing nature of 'Jim Crow' bigotry may still be found. Yet, every ray of sunshine and hope must be embraced and magnified. And we do just that.

Coming to The Big Screen?: Daniel, and his surviving teammates have reason to hope and believe that, finally, their inspiring story will come to a theater near you. Just as importantly, in that event, the nation and the world will know of the achievements of a team, a school, a community, parents, and teachers that will inspire others.

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Source:Gene Cartwright,
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Tags:Espn, Sports, Pony Express, Basketball, Daniel McLaurin, Gene Cartwright, Ifogo, Film, Movie
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