Monday, March 13, 2017

Desegregation and Basketball at Vol State Book Event

Basketball collides with desegregation in a book about two childhood friends from Gallatin. “More Than Rivals” is the story of how those two high school students found themselves on the frontline of Civil Rights in Tennessee. This coming Thursday, Vol State will host “More Than Rivals: A Conversation with Bill Ligon & Eddie Sherlin.” Joining them will be the New York Times best-selling author of the book, Ken Abraham.

This is how the book publisher describes the story. “Eddie Sherlin and Bill Ligon were two boys living on opposite sides of the tracks in Gallatin in the 1960s. They shared a passion for basketball. Despite the barriers they knew divided them, including the separation of their schools and the colors of their skin, Eddie and Bill found friendship on the basketball court. By 1970, the process of desegregation was in full-swing and had everyone on edge. All-white Gallatin High and all-black Union High would become one. First, the two schools would face one another in the basketball championship game. This game suddenly held a deeper meaning for the people of Gallatin.”

Ligon and Sherlin will discuss this important part of our local history and how the book “More Than Rivals” came to be. Author Ken Abraham has written about the lives of many famous Americans ranging from astronaut Buzz Aldrin to boxer George Foreman.

“More Than Rivals: A Conversation with Bill Ligon & Eddie Sherlin.” will be held starting at 5:30 p.m. in the Wemyss Auditorium of Caudill Hall. It is free and open to everyone. Pizza and refreshments will be provided and copies of the book available for sale. The speaking engagement is sponsored by Vol State Thigpen Library, Vol State Student Life, Phi Theta Kappa, Vol State Athletics, Sumner County Schools, and Gallatin and Portland public libraries. For more information visit, call 615-230-3400 or email

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