IBLC mourns passing of civil rights pioneer Jerry Harkness
INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC) issued the following statement regarding the passage of Jerry Harkness:
“Jerry Harkness may not have been from Indiana, but he was a Hoosier through and through. He spoke to the world through our state's most beloved sport and showed a generous heart on and off the court. It is thanks to his dedication and strength that we have such organizations as the Indiana Black Expo and 100 Black Men of Indianapolis to unite the voices of Black and Brown Hoosiers across the state.
“Mr. Harkness remains a true inspiration to the IBLC and all who strive for real change in this world. He will truly be missed. We offer our thoughts and prayers to his loved ones during this difficult time.”
About Jerry Harkness:
Jerry Harkness, a native of New York City, first gained attention when he helped the Loyola University of Chicago Ramblers win the 1963 NCAA basketball title during a college career where he was also named an All-American. He went on to play in the NBA for the New York Knicks and then the Indiana Pacers, where he made an 88-foot shot to win a basketball game.
After he retired from the Pacers, Harkness went on to become the first African-American sportscaster for WTHR in Indianapolis. He also served as the first African-American fundraiser for the United Way, and helped found Indiana Black Expo and 100 Black Men of Indianapolis.
Harkness's career has resulted in numerous awards, including his induction into three basketball halls of fame (Indiana, Manhattan, and Harlem) as an individual, and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame with the 1963 Loyola team. He has received the NCAA Silver Anniversary Community Service Award; the Boy Scout “This is Your Life” Service Award; the Jefferson Community Service Award; the Sports Illustrated Award; and the Muhammad Ali Award. He was honored by President Barack Obama at the White House in 2013, and also inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.
State Rep. Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis) and members of the Indiana House Democratic Caucus also honored Harkness for his achievements during the 2019 Legislative Session.