This letter is not intended to distract from the well-deserved recognition of the four football players whose statues have been erected at the University of Kentucky.
I do believe that another person deserving of the same recognition is Jim Green of Eminence. Green was a stride ahead of the other black athletes that broke UK’s and the Southeastern Conference’s color barrier.
Green beat every sprinter that he competed against that won a medal in the 1968 Olympics. He beat John Carlos and even O.J. Simpson in sprint matchups. He was the first black athlete to graduate from UK. A hamstring injury kept him from an Olympic medal.
He and I were co-captains of the UK track and field team in 1970-71 under Coach Press Whelan. Jim didn’t have pads and a helmet to shield him during competitions across the Deep South. He stood tall, deflected the insults and collected the winning medals.
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I would respectfully ask that Jim Green be added to the other four players who now stand tall at UK. They all deserve that special recognition.