Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Ageeth Sluis

Second Advisor

Jason Lantzer


Sports in our societies play a more crucial role than often given credit. Teams of any level can significantly impact the community they come from and those they make contact with. The all-Black Crispus Attucks High School basketball team is a prominent case study for this argument. Their state championships in 1955 and 1956 in Indiana put how sports can impact ways of thinking on display. A team led by future hall-of-fame player Oscar Robertson, the Attucks Tigers stormed to victory in games across the state. Indiana had long been influenced by the Ku Klux Klan activity that resurfaced in the 1920s. Their power had a lasting impact on the state which affected how people would view an all-Black team in a Northern city. Defying the odds, the Tigers proved they were a high-caliber team, able to play alongside white players with class and little issue. Attucks success caused significant changes in Indianapolis and Indiana racially, forcing their way into a sphere they were historically barred from. Facing prejudice before, during, and after their back-to-back victories, the Crispus Attuck’s Tigers had a stronghold on Indiana basketball and society matched by few others. The impact Attucks had on the city falls in line with other Civil Rights movements happening at the same. The only difference was they made their impact through sport.

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