Google+

Ramblers Book Review

Ramblers: Loyola Chicago 1963 15817037
The Team That Changed the Color of College Basketball
by Michael Lenehan
Agate Midway Books
Paperback, $16.00
308 pages, Illustrated
ISBN: 978-1-57284-140-6

Book Review by Kam Williams

“Was there a time when civil rights protesters could be attacked by a club-wielding mob while police officers stood by? When the president of the United States had to mobilize 30,000 federal troops to put down an armed insurrection prompted by the enrollment of a single black man at a state university?

There was… Here’s a story about the integration and evolution of college basketball, set against the backdrop of the civil rights movement, one of the most convulsive periods of our nation’s history… My aim here is to persuade you that a pivotal moment in that transition was the improbable championship of the Loyola Ramblers, a black-and-white team that opened a lot of eyes and stirred a lot of hearts.”

— Excerpted from Introduction (pages 14-15) 

Founded by Jesuit priests in 1870, Loyola Chicago is a prestigious, Catholic college located on the Windy City’s west side. Between its academic orientation and modest student size, the institution is not one would normally associate with athletics. 

However, in 1963, the school garnered some unexpected headlines when its men’s basketball team, the Ramblers, earned a berth in the Final Four of the NCAA tournament alongside perennial powerhouses Duke, Oregon State and Cincinnati. Not content just to make it to the big dance, upstart Loyola went on to defeat the two-time defending champion, Cincinnati. 

En route to the title game, the Ramblers also beat Mississippi State, an all- white team that had never faced any African-American opponents before because of a strict school policy forbidding competing against any African- Americans. So, giving Mississippi State a butt-kicking in front of their racist fans during the Sweet Sixteen round was likely fulfilling enough for Loyola. 

Note that just before the season had started, James Meredith had made history as the first black student ever to enroll at Ole Miss. That triggered an armed white insurrection which was only quelled after President Kennedy sent down thousands of federal troops. 

Meredith went on to graduate but was shot in the head a few years later while leading a voter registration march in rural Mississippi. Fortunately, he would recover from his wounds and eventually earn a law degree from Columbia University. 

The civil rights movement is indirectly the focus of Ramblers, a fascinating opus about an integrated team of talented and dignified young men who not only ascended to the top of their sport but simultaneously helped change the color of college basketball once and for all. The book recounts in riveting detail how the Loyola players maintained their composure despite being spat on, cursed at and showered with garbage during NCAA Tournament contests hosted across the South including the Final Four on the floor of the ironically-named Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Written by veteran journalist Michael Lenehan, an award-winning editor at the Atlantic and the Chicago Reader, Ramblers is a worthwhile read chronicling a memorable upset and, perhaps more importantly, a triumph of character over cowardice that had repercussions way beyond the basketball court.

To order a copy of Ramblers, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/
1572841400/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

REQUEST INFORMATION

Entertainment

Top Ten DVD List for August 22, 2017

  This Week’s DVD Releases by Kam Williams Top Ten DVD List for August 22, 2017                       Nova: Poisoned Water [Flint, Michigan Expose'] https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B071HG59CK/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20 Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2 [Marvel Comics Superheroes Sequel] https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06ZXWR8C5/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20 Supergirl: Season 2 [Woman of Steel Battles a New Set of … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Lifestyle

Girls Trip! Head to South Louisiana for Food, Fishing, and Culture

  Girls Trip! Head to South Louisiana for Food, Fishing, and Culture By Craig Lamb Ah, the New Orleans French Quarter. The sound of jazz coming from Preservation Hall. The taste of fresh beignets and café au lait at Café du Monde. Art galleries and shopping. French, Creole and Cajun cultures. It all has the makings of a girl’s getaway vacation, with a catch, and quite literally. A short drive through the scenic marshland is Home Run … [Read More its Good for You...]

Outdoors

“X” Marks the Spot for Deer Hunting in Kansas: Welcome to Xtreme Hunts

  “X” Marks the Spot for Deer Hunting in Kansas: Welcome to Xtreme Hunts   If you are looking to dive into a quality deer hunting experience in the state of Kansas, Xtreme Hunts is the place to go. Trophy whitetail deer hunts is what this company is all about. Being established in 2011, the company first came to be in Kansas because of the massive amount of encouragement that Xtreme Hunts received from their clients in Illinois; they … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

College Football Arriving Soon!

  College Football Arriving Soon! by Amy Lignor   Ask any college football fan and they will tell you that it seems like an eternity waiting for the season to begin. But, have no fear, the kick-off to the college season is almost here, with Colorado State and Oregon State hitting the field on Saturday, August 26th at 2:30 p.m. ET. On the same day, fans of Oregon State and Colorado State will see an active match-up, and Portland … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Going Back in Time on the Ultimate Steamboat Vacation

  Going Back in Time on the Ultimate Steamboat Vacation by Amy Lignor   Many people love taking a cruise. But it is the river cruise on that glorious steamboat that not only offers all the benefits a big ocean liner offers, but also creates a more personalized, intimate vacation experience. It is a unique recipe: being able to witness stunning landscapes, mixed with amazing history, while dining on acclaimed regional cuisine and … [Read More its Good for You...]

Real Estate

Real Estate: Refinancing Rates on the Rise in 2017

  Real Estate: Refinancing Rates on the Rise in 2017 by Amy Lignor   The term ‘meteoric rise’ usually applies to something fun. Think: A Hollywood actor who has been ‘discovered.’) Unfortunately, when it comes to this article, ‘meteoric rise’ is something that will not bring a smile to one’s face. To put it simply, if you wish to refinance your home, you need to do it ASAP. If choosing to wait too much longer, homeowners across the … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Business

The New Airline Fare to Avoid: Basic Economy

  The New Airline Fare to Avoid: Basic Economy by Amy Lignor   Whether on business or going on vacation, buying airline tickets in this day and age is getting more difficult. The most recent term in airfares is “Basic Economy.” Now, all people want to nab the cheapest flight they can get in order to save money, yet even travel agencies are now scrambling to explain to their clients that “Basic Economy” may save $30 to $50 from a … [Read More its Good for You...]

Green Living

Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden

  Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden by Amy Lignor   Many are still dealing with that wintery mix Mother Nature just loves to toss down from the sky this time of year. Yet, that gardener living inside the soul – the one just dreaming of the sunny skies and lazy rainy days that are must-haves in order to grow the best vegetables possible – is already jotting down the facts, tricks and tips they need to know in order to make that … [Read More its Good for You...]

Books

Book of Black Heroes

  Book of Black Heroes Political Leaders Past and Present by Gil L. Robertson, IV Foreword by Myrlie Evers-Williams Just Us Books Paperback, $12.95 80 pages ISBN: 978-1-933491-21-9 Book Review by Kam Williams “The first African-American political leaders began to serve following the Civil War...Known as Reconstruction, this period represented a window of opportunity for African-Americans... Many [Black] political leaders emerged … [Read More its Good for You...]