Community Sports

This Sunday, the Yearlings Club in association with the University of Louisville is presenting “A Salute to African-American Athletes: Trailblazers Who Broke Color Barriers in College Sports.”

Among the honorees is Von Macklin, the first female African-American basketball player to get a scholarship at U of L. I spoke with Macklin about her time at the school. Listen to our conversation in the player above.

On her life in basketball prior to attending U of L:

“I learned to play during a summer. I never played before, I was a cheerleader at the junior college prior to that. So, it was exciting, I don’t know…it was a good time for me. God was good to me because as I said, I did not play basketball in high school. I only played at the University of Louisville for two years.”

On how she ended up at U of L:

“I just wanted to complete my education; I had two years completed before entering the University of Louisville. I’m originally from Alabama and I attended a junior college in Alabama which was called Alexander City Junior College. So when I got married and moved to Louisville, I called over at U of L to see if they had scholarships and the coach — coach Becky Hudson — said, ‘how tall are you?’ And I told her 5’9, 5’9 and a half, and I never heard anything from her after that. So when tryouts began, I came over and tried out and made the team.”

On how she felt at the time knowing she was a part of school history:

“If you want to know the truth, at that time, that wasn’t on my mind. In fact, I didn’t know I was the first to receive a scholarship until maybe a couple months ago. It wasn’t discussed, and like I said, I was there to make sure I went to class, got good grades and worked hard on the basketball team so I could keep that scholarship.”

“A Salute to African-American Athletes:Trailblazers Who Broke Color Barriers in College Sports” will be held Sunday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. at the Yearlings Club in Louisville. 

Bill Burton is the Morning Edition host for WFPL News.