We agree with Raymond Sabbatine’s Nov. 23 letter in which he stated that the recognition given the four football players whose statues have been erected at the University of Kentucky was well deserved, and that Jim Green, the University of Kentucky track star of the same era, is equally deserving of recognition as an athlete whose courage and excellence helped break UK’s and the Southeastern Conference’s color barrier.
As a trailblazer, Green endured hostile experiences in competitions across the Deep South, but as Sabbatine stated, Green “stood tall, deflected the insults, and collected the winning medals.”
Green helped bring attention to UK’s track and field program with his record-breaking performances. By the end of his four-year eligibility, Green had won eight SEC championships and was the first African-American student athlete at UK and in the SEC to win NCAA and SEC championships.
He broke UK and SEC records, and in 1971 he was ranked No. 1 in the world in the 100 meters. He has been inducted into six halls of fame, including the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame and the UK Athletic Hall of Fame.
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Green was the first UK African-American to serve as co-captain on the track team and in December 1971 became the first African-American student-athlete to graduate from UK.
We would like to see Green receive the special recognition he deserves.
(This letter signed by 72 others)