Celebrating Black History Month: University of Kansas Firsts


As you know, February is Black History Month, and ESPN had a nice feature story a couple of nights ago about Baylor guard Ishmail Wainright, whose grandfather Maurice King was the first African-American starter in Kansas basketball history during the 1954 season. Wainright debuted a custom jersey honoring his grandfather when Baylor visited Lawrence the first of the month, and if you haven’t seen ESPN’s piece, it’s worth checking out:


KU BALLS is proud to honor Maurice King along with other African-Americans and their notable firsts at Kansas:

LaVannes Squires was the first African-American to play at the University of Kansas.
Maurice King, whose signature is in the upper right of the program, was the first African-American starter at KU and played with some guy named Wilt Chamberlain on the 1957 national runner-up team.
Al Correll was the first African-American captain at the University of Kansas.
Lafayette Norwood was the first African-American assistant coach at Kansas.
John McLendon, although not allowed to play basketball while he went to school at KU, studied under James Naismith before going on to become the first African-American basketball coach at a predominantly white university as well as the first African-American head coach in any professional sport.

To these and all the other African-American pioneers who helped blaze a trail at Kansas for everyone that came after them, a truly respectful Rock Chalk!

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