Next Avenue: This collector turned his hobby into a passion and a purpose—and ultimately a museum

by | Jan 24, 2023 | Stock Market

This article is reprinted by permission from When Lamont Collins’ family moved to a mostly white Louisville, Kentucky neighborhood in the 1960s, he felt like he’d been dropped behind enemy lines (although he was never physically harmed). He survived and thrived in large part because of his athletic ability, which later earned him a spot on the University of Louisville football team. “I was always the best athlete, so kids would always put me on their team,” he says.

Like sports fans of every age, Collins and his teammates loved to argue about who the best professional athletes were — Sandy Koufax vs. Bob Gibson in baseball, Bob Cousy vs. Bill Russell in basketball, hometown legend Paul Hornung vs. Jim Brown in football. Collins tended to take the side of the Black players like Russell in these arguments, and his white friends would sometimes come back days later and say things like, “I talked to my dad, and he said Bill Russell’s pretty good.” “So I found out, like at nine or 10, how important it was to tell our story,” Collins says. Telling Black stories is just what Collins, now 63, is doing as founder and CEO of Roots 101 African-American Museum in downtown Louisville. “The reason I call it Roots 101 is because in higher education the first class you take is 101,” he says …

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