The Kentucky men’s basketball team honored the former African-American community of Adamstown on Friday evening in their exhibition matchup against Kentucky State.
Prior to the game during team warmups, Kentucky players sported “Adamstown” shooting shirts to honor the neighborhood and community that “closely tied to the growth of Lexington and the University of Kentucky,” which was located where Memorial Coliseum is currently located and down Limestone from 1887-1943.
Adamstown was home to Pierre Whiting, the first African-American employed at UK. Whiting – a janitor at the school for 57 years – was employed longer than any other employee in the history of the University of Kentucky.
The school also honored Lyman T. Johnson, UK’s first African-American student, who enrolled in 1949. According to the clip released by the University of Kentucky, Johnson, “through legal means, fought so that African-Americans, as well as other minoritized identities, can gain access to this wonderful university for an educational experience.”
This past May, the University of Kentucky honored Whiting and the Adamstown community with a historical marking located just outside the Joe Craft Center.
After the game, Kentucky freshman guard Johnny Juzang said it was “crazy” that his dorm – the Wildcat Coal Lodge – and practice gym – the Joe Craft Center – are both located where Adamstown was previously located.
“It’s crazy. I didn’t even know that it was where Memorial was so I think it was some really awesome history and kind of symbolic too,” Juzang said. “You’ve got the athletic teams right where that town was being built and developing.”
Check out the clip on the tribute below:
With tonight’s matchup between @KentuckyMBB and @KYSUMBB, and as part of a yearlong series commemorating 70 years of integration at @universityofky, @UKathletics is honoring Lyman T. Johnson and the Adamstown community. pic.twitter.com/uQA9O6vap1
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) November 1, 2019