Providence College: Black & White

WEST WARWICK, RI – On Thursday, December 1 at 9:30 p.m., Cox Sports will debut Providence College: Black and White, an original documentary film detailing the relationship between the civil rights movement in America and college basketball at Providence.

Cox Sports produced the film, and it will air on Cox channel 3 and 1003 in HD. It will also be available On DEMAND.

In an era when most major programs failed to integrate, the Providence College men’s basketball team had black players dating back to the early 1930s, decades before the NIT and NCAA tournaments even allowed black athletes to compete. It was also in the 30s that Mal Brown, the trainer for whom Providence’s first yearly scrimmage is still named after, began his employment at the college.

Lenny Wilkens

PC Friar Legend Lenny Wilkens

The film focuses on Providence’s pioneering role in integrating college athletics as it paralleled the civil rights movement in America. It also highlights the careers of prominent black graduates such as Lenny Wilkens and John Thompson.

“Cox Sports is truly the industry leader and this documentary is an example of the quality work they produce,” Providence College Athletics Director Bob Driscoll said. “This documentary highlights many of the great student-athletes who played at Providence College while showcasing our rich tradition and history.”

Emmy-winning producer Chris Ackerknecht developed the project over the course of the past year, which includes current interviews with Friar legends Lenny Wilkens and John Egan, as well as Providence Journal sportswriters Kevin McNamara and Bill Reynolds.

“We are very proud to produce and air such a thoughtful and informative film,” said Doreen Studley, vice president of marketing at Cox New England. “Although the story of race and sports in America is a vast one, to be able to share a truly local piece of it with our customers is something very special.” Other documentary films produced by Cox Sports include Somehow, Someway: A Season with the URI Rams and Narragansett Special: The Story of Narragansett Park.


Providence College: Black & White premieres December 1 and will air all month long, only on Cox Sports.

Read a review of the film by Providence Journal’s Bill Reynolds | Order a DVD copy of the documentary