Six decades after they were denied the honor, members of 1955 Crispus Attucks State Champion basketball and cheer teams will again make Indiana history as they assume the role of Grand Marshals for the 58th annual IPL 500 Festival Parade.
On Saturday May 23, the attention of Indiana will be on the legendary “Dream Team” and its historic accomplishments as the athletes enjoy the traditional champion’s privilege of leading the parade.
Along the route, there will be a planned stop along the Parade route, on Monument Circle. A celebration including music, signs and pompoms will honor the athletes and cheer squad.
“Winning the state championship was a special time for our team and for the community. It meant so much to us and to Indianapolis,” said basketball legend Oscar Palmer Robertson in a release.
“On behalf of the 1955 Crispus Attucks High School basketball team, we are honored to serve as the Grand Marshals for this year’s IPL 500 Festival Parade,” said Robertson, 76, also known as the ‘The Big O.’
Robertson has said that during his Indiana childhood, his family was so poor that they could not afford a basketball. Undaunted, the future champ trained with rags bound with rubber bands and a peach basket. The former American National Basketball Association player wore the uniform of the Cincinnati Royals and Milwaukee Bucks.
Robertson remains the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season.
Crispus Attucks, originally planned by the Ku Klux Klan, was carried forward by IPS to segregate the African-American student population. Nevertheless, the Black students and their teachers defied all odds and created a Hoosier legacy of musical, athletic and academic excellence.
In addition to being Grand Marshals of the Parade, the Crispus Attucks V.I.P.’s will walk the televised red carpet as guests at the KeyBank 500 Snakepit Ball.
The members of the 1955 Crispus Attucks cheerleading squad expected to participate are Maxine Coleman and Stella Barker Young.
The 1955 Crispus Attucks basketball players expected to attend are: LeVern Benson,James Enochs, John Gipson, Bill Hampton, Albert Maxey, Willie Merriweather, Sheddrick Mitchell, Stanford Patton, Henry Robertson and Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson.
The passage of 60 years has claimed the high school star athletes and belles of yesteryear, but this Sunday’s celebration shows, they and their amazing achievements are not forgotten.