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Friday, December 16, 2011

Fox Manor's Most Famous Residents are Becoming Even More Famous

Tom Shipley and Beryl Shipley called Fox Manor home before it became a bed and breakfast. We have been blessed to know these wonderful gentlemen and share memories of Kingsport and their families.  Beryl and his beautiful wife even stayed with us and had a book signing event when he released "Slam Dunked: The NCAA's Shameful Reaction to Athletic Integration in the Deep South".

Beryl was a longtime coach at University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he broke the color barrier at that school, and faced intense criticism and opposition for doing so. In 1975 he became coach of the ABA's San Diego Conquistadors. He was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2010, which eventually spread into his brain. Shipley died on April 15, 2011 at the age of 84.

His brother and our friend, Tom, was instrumental in getting the story of Beryl's life and struggles made public. In 1965 Beryl Shipley, head basketball coach for the University of Southwestern Louisiana, took the first steps in abolishing the deep south’s unwritten rule against integration in athletics.

Most people think they know the story. It’s been covered by Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, local media outlets, even compiled into book form. It’s been hashed and rehashed on talk radio. Yet to this day the story remains largely a mystery, even to most of those directly involved.

Douglas Domingue is owner and creative director of the digital design firm AcadiĆ© Digital in Lafayette, La.   Doug’s eye for design, experience behind the camera, and love for his home state of Louisiana are the elements that drive him to create a film about Beryl's coaching career called, “Lights Out in Blackham”. It is a story he heard bits and pieces of growing up and finally came to the conclusion he had to get to the bottom of it.
Please visit their website Lights Out In Blackham to find out more about this great man and see the latest trailer. You will not believe Beryl's incredible journey.

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