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Solly Walker was a sophomore guard who played for St. John's University, when, on December 17, 1951, he became the first African American to play in an integrated college basketball game in the state of Kentucky. The University of Kentucky (UK) defeated St. John's. Walker began the game by hitting six of his first seven shots and had only played a few minutes when he received a blow that put him on the sidelines for the next three weeks. In a subsequent tournament game, St. John's defeated UK in the NCAA East Regional. St. John's continued to win until they were defeated in the final game by the University of Kansas Jayhawks. Solly Walker was the first African American to play basketball at St. John's University, and upon graduation was drafted by the New York Knicks. Walker declined the NBA offer and became one of the first African American high school principals in New York. For more see Raw Recruits, by A. Wolff; and St. Johns [sic] at Kentucky. A picture of Walker playing in the December game against Kentucky is on p.111 of the 1952 Kentuckian Yearbook [available online].
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / New York City, New York