In the 1960s, college sports required more than athletic prowess from its African American players. For many pioneering basketball players on 18 teams in the Atlantic and Southeastern conference, playing ball meant braving sometimes menacing crowds during the tumultuous era of civil rights. Perry Wallace feared he would be shot when he first stepped onto a court in his Vanderbilt uniform. During one road game, Georgia's Ronnie Hogue fended off a hostile crowd with a chair. Craig Mobley had to flee the Clemson campus, along with other black students. C.B. Claiborne couldn't attend the Duke team banquet when it was held at an all-white country club. Wendell Hudson's mother cried with heartache when her son decided to play at the University of Alabama, and Al Heartley locked himself in a campus dorm at North Carolina State for safety the night Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated. Grounded in the civil rights struggles on campuses throughout the south, the voices of players, coaches, opponents and fans reveal the long-neglected story of race, sports and social history.
Barry Jacobs has covered college basketball as well as news and other sports since 1976 for numerous publications, among them the New York Times, Washington Post, GQ, People, Oceans, the Saturday Evening Post and the Sporting News. He is the author of four books, including Coach K's Little Blue Book, The World According to Dean, and Three Paths to Glory. For 14 years he wrote the Fan’s Guide to ACC Basketball. He also served as an elected county commissioner for 20 years and supervises Moorefields, an historic site near Hillsborough, NC.
“For the last three decades, Barry Jacobs has been among the most respected and dedicated sportswriters covering the world of college basketball. Across theLine is his finest work. This book tells the important stories of the brave young men who were only looking to play a game, but ended up making history. Exhaustively researched and eloquently written, Across the Line is a must-read for sports and non-sports fans alike.”
--Seth Davis, college basketball analyst, Sports Illustrated/CBS
"The author's exhaustive interviews and impeccable research present a gut-wrenchingly clear picture of the obstacles the athletes encountered..This should be required reading for sports fans of all backgrounds."
“Across the Line has become one of my treasured historic documents. This book delivers a thorough answer to the question ‘What is it like to be the first ONE?’ Being ‘first’ assures your place in history!”-- George Raveling, pioneering Black basketball coach and Nike executive
“As someone who has been involved with the issue of race and sport for more than 50 years, I know too well that there is a huge void in our knowledge of the history of integrating our college basketball teams. Barry Jacobs' Across the Line brings us the rich history of the African-American basketball players who courageously broke the color barriers of the ACC and SEC schools. It is a must read for anyone who wants to know that history.”--Richard Lapchick, Chair of DeVos Sport Business Management Program
Director, Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport
Director, National Consortium for Academics and Sports
“I’ve long said basketball is like the advertising arm for race relations. In Across the Line, Barry Jacobs does an excellent job telling the unsung stories of the Black pioneers who quietly faced and surmounted barriers to athletic participation at major Southern universities a half-century ago. The sacrifices and realizations made by players, teammates and coaches paved the way for the game we enjoy today.”-- Mike Krzyzewski, who coached three USA squads to Olympic gold medals, won five NCAA titles, and directed Duke and Army to the most wins in college basketball history