Interview with Lusia Harris, March 6, 2021
Project: University of Kentucky Athletics: Women's Basketball Oral History Project
Interview SummaryInterview with women's basketball legend Lusia Harris, three-time National Champion with Delta State University, first woman to score a basket in the first women's basketball game in the Olympics, first woman to be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame.
Harris talks about her community of Minter City, Mississippi, her large family, and working as a child to help her family. She talks about the lack of opportunities for girls in sports during Harris' childhood, although Harris says she had more opportunities than others. Harris talks about her arrival at Delta State University, and her experience as a woman of color on a predominately-white campus, coming from an all-black high school. Harris talks about her freshman basketball season, including her teammates, practices, Coach Margaret Wade, their record, and their loss in the semi-finals to Mercer University. She talks about her sophomore year of college, including specific games from the state tournament, which Delta State University won. She talks about the national tournament and Delta State's rivalry with Immaculata College. Harris talks about being invited to join the U.S. National Team during the summer of 1975, what it was like to travel abroad for the first time, and winning a gold medal. Harris talks about her junior year at Delta State University. She talks about specific games from the state and national tournaments, and winning their second consecutive national championship. Harris talks about trying out for the U.S. women's basketball team for the 1976 Olympics. She talks about not being aware of the significance of being part of the first women's basketball team in the Olympics, and about Ann Meyers pointing out to her that she scored the first points in Olympic women's basketball. She talks about her senior year at Delta State University including being undefeated at home during her entire college career, playing in Madison Square Garden, and winning the national tournament for the third consecutive year.
Harris talks about women athletes not being able to make a living playing professional sports, and how the discrepancy between male and female athletes continues today. She talks about coaching high school basketball and how much more difficult it was as a woman of color who received no support. She talks about how female athletes' mentality has changed since her college career and discusses the impact of Title IX. Harris talks about being the first African American woman to win a national title and being the first woman to be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame. Harris talks about how the world has changed since her childhood. She talks about social issues, the Coronavirus pandemic, injustice and racism.
Interview Keyword1973-1977 (Years at Delta State University) Delta State University Lusia Harris-Stewart Minter City (Miss.) National championships Margaret Wade Title IX Amanda Elzy High School High school basketball 1975 FIBA World Championship 1976 Olympics Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Basketball coaches--Mississippi Basketball--Coaching Coaches (Athletics) Coaching (Athletics) Sex discrimination Gender discrimination Gender Equity in athletics Equality of opportunity Equality Equal treatment standards Women of color 1973-1974 (Basketball season) 1974-1975 (Basketball season) 1975-1976 (Basketball season) 1976-1977 (Basketball season)
Interview LC SubjectBasketball Basketball players Basketball players--Mississippi Basketball teams College athletes College sports--Mississippi College sports. Delta State University Delta State University--Basketball Discrimination in sports Sexism. Women basketball players Women in higher education. Women--Education (Higher) College athletes--Recruiting College facilities. African American basketball players African American college students--Social conditions African American college students. African Americans--Education (Higher) African Americans--Social conditions. African Americans--Sports College environment College students, Black College students--Attitudes. College students--Conduct of life. College students--Social conditions College students. Integration Race discrimination. Race relations Racism
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Interview UsageInterviews may only be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Interviews may only be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.
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Harris, Lusia Interview by Valerie R. Still. 06 Mar. 2021. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Harris, L. (2021, March 06). Interview by V. R. Still. University of Kentucky Athletics: Women's Basketball Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Harris, Lusia, interview by Valerie R. Still. March 06, 2021, University of Kentucky Athletics: Women's Basketball Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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