Indiana U. Pairs Black Pioneer With Segregationist

Bill Garrett was a local legend, named Indiana Mr. Basketball in 1947 and becoming the first African-American basketball player in the Big Ten. So Indiana University naturally wanted to honor him by renaming the arena where he once played. There were two problems with this. One, the arena already had a name, so it would have become the unwieldy William L. Garrett-Ora. L. Wildermuth Intramural Center. Two, Ora Wildermuth hated black people.

Bill Garrett

Wildermuth was IU’s board president in 1945 when he opposed the integration of the school. Hoosier trustees managed to ignore this fact when they approved the name change last week, but once Bill Garrett’s widow heard about it, she wasn’t having any of it.

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