Gathering for “One Night in March” documentary and panel discussion

STARKVILLE, Miss- (WCBI)- Monday, people gathered at the Starkville Public Library to view the documentary, “One Night in March.”

The film tells the story of a historic basketball game between Mississippi State University -an all-white team at the time- and Loyola University -an integrated team.

As the Civil Rights Movement gained momentum, MSU had a powerhouse basketball program that earned conference titles, and national rankings.

Despite their success, the Bulldogs could not play in the NCAA national championship because of an unwritten rule prohibiting all-white Mississippi collegiate sports teams from competing against integrated teams.

However, Mississippi State University defied this rule and the state legislature to compete for a national championship and to redefine sports.

Following the viewing, a panel discussion was held between the documentary producer and the 1963 ball club members.

“It was a great opportunity to tell that story that was so courageous and so we thought well we still have that documentary and we still need to celebrate this incredible event and so we decided that this was a good time to bring that back out,” said Rex Buffington, Co-Chairman of S.O.U.L.

“In 1963 Coach McCarthy and the president of Mississippi State University decided we were going. We’re going to go where they won’t let us go or not and so actually as most people see on the film if they’ve seen this video we’re gonna see tonight, that they had to sneak the players out of town,” said Richard Williams, MSU baseball radio analyst.

The Documentary, “One Night in March,” -released in 2013- features interviews, rare footage, and archival photos.

Categories: Local News, News Team