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"In a magnificently reported, nuanced but raw account of basketball and racism in the South during the 1960s, Andrew Maraniss tells the story of Perry Wallace's struggle, loneliness, perseverance and eventual self-realization. A rare story about physical and intellectual courage that is both shocking and triumphant."
--Bob Woodward, Washington Post associate editor and author
Memorial Gym, the home of the local Vanderbilt Commodores since its opening in 1952, was the crux of Perry Wallace’s experiences at Vanderbilt. But months before he even entered Vanderbilt, Perry Wallace and his Pearl High School teammates won the State title at the gym he would be regularly playing in for the next four years. During his freshman year, Perry learned how to handle the pressure of braking the Southeastern Conference race barrier. Between his freshman and sophomore year, he saw his fellow African-American teammate Godfrey Dillard go down with a season ending injury, and learned the hardship of working for a white boss, while working on the addition of balconies to increase the capacity of Memorial, which was always full with screaming fans. During his varsity career, even after he moved off campus he continued to spend huge amounts of time Memorial. After practically his only offensive move, the dunk, was outlawed by a coalition of coaches including Adolph Rupp he spent time working on his shots under the direction of Coach Skinner even over the summer. All in all Memorial Gym was a place of conflict, learning, and comfort for Perry Wallace throughout his young adult life.