Six decades after they didn’t receive recognition after they made history, the members of the legendary 1955 Crispus Attucks High School Basketball team will get their ride and recognition around the Monument Circle and much more! The Attucks Team is the 2015 Grand Marshals of the 58th IPL 500 Festival Parade, Saturday May 23rd Downtown. The historic announcement was made today by the 500 festival. The honor ties into the theme for this year’s parade, “Celebrating the Stories of May” and honors the Crispus Attucks team will give Hoosiers the opportunity to complete the team’s story of determination and historic accomplishments. The Crispus Attucks Basketball Team was the first all Black high school to win a state championship. In an era of Jim Crow, the players, coaches, even cheerleaders overcame countless obstacles and inequalities to win the 1955 Indiana State Basketball Tournament. But immediately after winning the game at Historic Hinkle Fieldhouse, the team, cheerleaders and fans were denied the tradition of riding a firetruck and celebrating by riding around Monument Circle. The omission of the traditional celebration left the team’s players, including Basketball Hall of Fame member, Oscar Robertson, to conclude that they simply “weren’t wanted.” Now that indignity ends as the Team, including Hall of Fame legend Oscar Robertson, will be greeted by hundreds of thousands attending this year’s 500 Festival Parade. And for the first time in the Parade’s 58 Year History, the parade’ll stop on Monument Circle. There, 60-years later, the Crispus Attucks basketball team and its cheerleaders, will have the long overdue celebration of their historic state championship. The celebration will be complete with music, signs, pompoms, and pictures – bringing their story full circle.
Said Oscar Robertson, “Winning the state championship was a special time for our team and for the community. It meant so much to us and to Indianapolis. On behalf of the 1955 Cripsus Attucks High School basketball team, we are honored to serve as the Grand Marshals for this year’s IPL 500 Festival Parade.” Bob Bryant, President/CEO of the 500 Festival said, “This is a celebration 60 years in the making – not just for this team, but for our community. It was important to our organization that every surviving member of this historic team be able to participate and enjoy the celebration, so we’re bringing everyone to Indianapolis for the occasion. It is truly an honor to host this accomplished group of trailblazers. We could not be more proud to deliver a world-class celebration for the team and another story to celebrate this May.” Members of the 1955 Crispus Attucks basketball team participating in the IPL 500 Festival Parade: LeVern Benson; James Enochs; John Gipson; Bill Hampton; Albert Maxey; Willie Merriweather; Sheddrick Mitchell; Stanford Patton; Henry Robertson and Oscar Robertson. Also Cheerleaders: Maxine Coleman and Stella Barker Young. Besides being Parade Grand Marshals, the 1955 Attucks Team will walk the televised red carpet as VIP guests at the 500 Festival Snakepit Ball. And they’ll be Celebrity VIP’s at the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500. They will walk the Race Day Red Carpet and enjoy the race from the famed Pagoda.