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Author to Share Story of Perry Wallace at WKCTC November 13

Published on Oct 23, 2017

MEDIA RELEASE: PADUCAH, KY (10/23/2017) Andrew Maraniss will share from his New York Times best-selling biography of the ground-breaking Vanderbilt basketball player Perry Wallace at West Kentucky Community and Technical College's (WKCTC) Clemens Fine Arts Center Monday, November 13.

Maraniss will offer a student presentation at 11 a.m. and a public presentation at 7 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be available at 6 p.m., prior to the evening presentation in the Clemens Fine Arts Center gallery. Maraniss will sign copies of his book following each presentation.

Perry Wallace grew up in segregation-era Nashville, and was one of the first African-American athletes in the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Wallace was an outstanding basketball player and student who accomplished a number of historic firsts: his high school team won the first integrated state basketball tournament in Tennessee, he was the first African American to play basketball in the SEC, the first black athlete to complete four years at an SEC school, and more. Wallace is currently a professor of law at Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C.

Vanderbilt Coach Roy Skinner, who recruited Perry Wallace, grew up in Paducah and was a student at Paducah Junior College (PJC). Skinner returned to Paducah to coach PJC's basketball team, and in 1956 Skinner's PJC team beat the Vanderbilt freshman team. That game was the only one Vanderbilt freshmen lost that year, resulting in Skinner earning appointment as the assistant coach at Vanderbilt. His success as Vanderbilt's head coach included a win over undefeated and number-one ranked Kentucky.

Andrew Maraniss, as a history student at Vanderbilt and later working for the university's athletic department in media relations, was perhaps the ideal person to write a book about Perry Wallace's experience. Andrew spent several years researching the book, Strong Inside: Perry Wallace and the Collision of Race and Sports in the South, eventually released in 2015 to awards and acclaim. Maraniss adapted the book to a young reader version, making the story accessible to younger audiences. Strong Inside has been named one of the Top 10 Biographies for Youth in 2017 by the American Library Association's Booklist publication.

Copies of Strong Inside are available at the WKCTC bookstore located in the Anderson Technical Building.

Groups wishing to attend the student presentation should RSVP to Christen Chapman at or by calling 270-534-3503.