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Madelina Brown, right, on Thursday gets a leaflet autographed by Harry Flournoy of the Texas Western 1966 NCAA basketball championship team after a showing of the movie "Glory Road" at Patch Theater in Stuttgart, Germany.
Madelina Brown, right, on Thursday gets a leaflet autographed by Harry Flournoy of the Texas Western 1966 NCAA basketball championship team after a showing of the movie "Glory Road" at Patch Theater in Stuttgart, Germany. (Charlie Coon / S&S)
Madelina Brown, right, on Thursday gets a leaflet autographed by Harry Flournoy of the Texas Western 1966 NCAA basketball championship team after a showing of the movie "Glory Road" at Patch Theater in Stuttgart, Germany.
Madelina Brown, right, on Thursday gets a leaflet autographed by Harry Flournoy of the Texas Western 1966 NCAA basketball championship team after a showing of the movie "Glory Road" at Patch Theater in Stuttgart, Germany. (Charlie Coon / S&S)
Kendall Arroyo, a fifth-grader at Patch Elementary School in Stuttgart, Germany, on Thursday raises her hand to ask a question at Patch Theater following a showing of the movie "Glory Road," which portrayed the Texas Western basketball team's 1966 championship season.
Kendall Arroyo, a fifth-grader at Patch Elementary School in Stuttgart, Germany, on Thursday raises her hand to ask a question at Patch Theater following a showing of the movie "Glory Road," which portrayed the Texas Western basketball team's 1966 championship season. (Charlie Coon / S&S)
David Lattin of the 1966 NCAA champions Texas Western basketball team on Thursday is escorted into the Patch Theater in Stuttgart, Germany, by Patch High School cheerleader Giselle Wagstaff after a showing of "Glory Road," the movie that portrayed the championship season.
David Lattin of the 1966 NCAA champions Texas Western basketball team on Thursday is escorted into the Patch Theater in Stuttgart, Germany, by Patch High School cheerleader Giselle Wagstaff after a showing of "Glory Road," the movie that portrayed the championship season. (Charlie Coon / S&S)

STUTTGART, Germany — It was insulting.

A team full of blacks couldn’t succeed at basketball, some said, because they couldn’t think fast enough, be leaders or be well-organized.

“This was the attitude we got,” Harry Flournoy said. “It was hurtful, but it was something that fueled us to work as hard as we could.”

In 1966, Flournoy and four others took the court as the first all African-American starting five in an NCAA men’s basketball final. His Texas Western Miners beat fabled Kentucky, 72-65, in one of the major sports breakthroughs in U.S. history.

Flournoy and four of his teammates are touring bases in Europe this month, where showings of the movie “Glory Road” are being presented as part of the community’s Black History Month celebrations. About 300 people attended Thursday’s event at the Patch Theater.

Prejudice was a two-way street, Flournoy recalled.

“I had a jaded viewpoint of white people,” he said. “My point of view was just as bad as people who looked at me because of my color.”

The former Miners weren’t the only underdogs in the crowd.

Coach Allen Archie’s Patch High School boys’ basketball team isn’t having a great year. He hoped the movie and question-and-answer session would boost his squad for the upcoming Department of Defense Dependents Schools tournament. Two years ago, Archie coached fifth-seeded Würzburg to the championship, so he knows underdogs can overcome the odds.

“I hope this inspires them to see what adversity is all about,” Archie said. “Just because we’re not in first place doesn’t mean we can’t win the tournament.”

“I myself am African-American, so it’s very important what they did and it influences me,” said Benji Bowles, one of Archie’s players. “I’m also a basketball player and would like to accomplish something at that level.”

The movie wasn’t a documentary and added scenes for dramatic effect.

One of the actual players, Nevil Shed, said he wasn’t really beaten up by whites inside a restaurant bathroom, as was depicted in the movie, but said such things happened in those days.

“It’s a movie for enjoyment,” Shed said. “But it’s also a teaching tool. Kids can ask their parents, ‘Mom and dad, was it really like that?’ It helps them to generate questions to get positive answers, so tomorrow it won’t be allowed to happen again.”

The event, presented as part of African-American/Black History Month, had a simple goal, according to Sgt. 1st Class Jacqueline Galloway, the equal opportunity adviser for Army Garrison Stuttgart.

“I wanted people to be aware that history was made in 1966,” Galloway said. “A lot of people didn’t know who they were or why they were coming.

“But they know now.”

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