Champion of the Little People
Bill Russell went to Mississippi at the request of the NAACP just weeks after the infamous “Mississippi Burning” murders of three civil rights workers. Russell, who had just won his sixth straight NBA World Championship title with the Celtics, hoped to sponsor integrated basketball camps in the state. “Any kids, black or white, who want to talk to me about basketball will be obliged,” said Russell. The Celtics star also said he would participate in any demonstrations if asked by civil rights activist Charles Evers, the brother of slain activist Medgar Evers. “I have to, because a man has to do what he thinks is right,” Russell explained. Russell (center) spoke at an event with Boston civil rights leaders Kenneth Guscott (left) and Marvin Gilmore (right).
Photo by Hal Sweeney/The Boston Globe via Getty Images