It took a 6’3” sophomore from Shelbyville and a righteous university president to break down the color line in Big Ten basketball.
Somewhere beneath the jumbo balloons and shy of the Rockettes’ high kicks, an Indiana institution will find its place in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
One of the ways black students encountered racism in Bloomington in the 1940s was in its eating establishments, many of which illegally refused them service. One undergraduate student was particularly frustrated not to be able to get a quick meal between classes. Although George Taliaferro’s life-sized photo hung inside the Book Nook on Indiana Avenue, the defensive back who had led the Hoosiers to their first Big Ten victory in 1945 had to trek all the way to the west side of town to get fed.
When considering people with Indiana ties who hold a record for having crossed a body of water, Amelia Earhart’s is one name that comes up. The first woman to make a trans-Atlantic trip by plane taught for a time at Purdue, which also financed the Lockheed Electra in which the aviatrix ultimately vanished.