Trailblazing basketball player Perry Wallace dies

(AP) – Perry Wallace, who broke down a racial barrier by becoming the first black varsity basketball player in the Southeastern Conference, has died. He was 69.

Wallace’s death was announced Friday by Vanderbilt University, where Wallace became an all-SEC player and remains among the Commodores’ all-time rebounding leaders.

Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos says the country has “lost a civil rights icon.” Wallace died of cancer at a hospice center in Rockville, Maryland.

After graduating from Vanderbilt, Wallace went on to earn a law degree at Columbia University and served as a law professor at American University.

He also served in the U.S. Justice Department and worked for the National Urban League, The Tennessean reported.

Wallace became the SEC’s first black basketball player to compete in a varsity game in 1967.

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Categories: Regional News, Sports

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