• Bubba Ephriam: Black Texas Basketball Trailblazer

Bubba Ephriam: Black Texas Basketball Trailblazer

$ 24.99

The untold story of a basketball pioneer who broke the color barrier in Texas basketball.

Though another athlete who played in the NFL is often credited for being the first Black Texas basketball player, Bubba Ephriam broke the color barrier in his sport in March 1957. He led the Pecos High School Eagles to their first outright district title and the UIL state basketball tournament.

Bubba grew up in a migrant farm family during pivotal years of segregation and integration. The Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision was announced on May 17, 1954, two days after his sixteenth birthday. His first game with the Pecos Eagles was on December 1, 1955, the same day Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, launching a historic 381-day bus boycott. Follow this inspirational story as Bubba plays the game he loves through a turbulent period before pursuing a distinguished career in the US Armed Forces.

Garner Roberts worked for Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, MO, Abilene Christian University, and Zachry Associates in Abilene during his career as a writer and editor. For 35 years, he worked in marketing and athletics media relations at ACU. He also served in media relations for the NCAA, NAIA, USA Track and Field, and US Olympic Committee at the Olympic Games, Pan American Games, IAAF World Championships, Goodwill Games, World University Games, and USA dual meets with USSR, German Democratic Republic, Cuba, England, and Federal Republic of Germany. He served as a director of Texas Writers Month, cofounder of the Big Country Soccer Association, and founding president of TASO Soccer Abilene Chapter. He was a communications consultant for Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas, the Texas Civil Justice League, and the Greater Austin Crime Commission. Roberts resides in Abilene, Texas.

“Roberts has captured the essence and soul of the dying days of segregation and the grudging transition to integration in the 1950s as it played out in Pecos, Texas, around the Lone Star state, and throughout the country. Caught in the middle is modest, Black, teenaged basketball phenom Iria “Bubba” Ephriam, unaware of the often-uncredited historic role he would play. Ephriam’s previously untold story is meticulously researched, and while Bubba Ephriam has a sports theme, it’s really a highly inspirational tale of history, family, faith, and community.”

—Michael Hurd, historian and author, Thursday Night Lights: The Story of Black High School Football in Texas

“I am guessing, dear reader, that you’re familiar with Judge Roy Bean, the legendary law west of the Pecos. However, I’m guessing you may not know Iria Ephriam, a young man who decades later made his mark on a different sort of court west of the Pecos. A basketball star in the mid-1950s for the Pecos Eagles in far West Texas, Ephraim—known his entire life as ‘Bubba’—was the first African American to participate in the Texas state high school basketball tournament in Austin. A dusty, little town in far West Texas might seem an unlikely place for civil rights history to be made, but made it was. In his fascinating and well-researched account of the trail Bubba Ephraim blazed from Pecos to Austin and beyond, Garner Roberts tells a story that’s largely unknown—a story worth telling.”

—Joe Holley, Pulitzer Prize finalist, Houston Chronicle, author of Slingin’ Sam

“A skillful and thought-provoking account of the dark and angry days of desegregation, viewed through the eyes of a Black West Texas teenager who overcame it all to become a legendary basketball player in a previously all-White world. This is an important, fascinating, and unforgettable tale.”

—Carlton Stowers, member of the Texas Literary Hall of Fame

“Garner Roberts deals with racial politics, ugly discrimination, and heroic personal triumph in relating a remarkable, little-known Texas high school sports story and its lasting impact and influence.”

—Glenn Dromgoole, author of A Small Town in Texas

Bubba Ephriam: Black Texas Basketball Trailblazer is a powerful book of history about a young man who came through his young life with several struggles from segregation into integration, but he had hope and made a commitment to succeed despite the odds against him. This book is centered around civil rights and the struggle for Black equality.”

—Andrew L. Penns, pastor and Black historian

ISBN 9781684261239

Pages 256

Dimensions (inches) 6 x 9

Weight (pounds) .5

Vendor: ACU Press

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