Before Caverna

Tom Chaney, Horse Cave’s resident historian, co-owner of The Bookstore and co-founder of the Kentucky Repertory Theatre at Horse Cave had read a chapter from Jump Johnny Jump at a Rotary Club luncheon a few months before and Sandra Wilson, director of Horse Cave/Hart County Tourism KNEW that a recording of this reading must be done. Tom Chaney’s emotional reading of this chapter, entitled Horse Cave, 1940, reflects the racial divide that existed in Horse Cave (and the state) during that era. Because of school principal and coach, Newton Thomas and with the influence of Adolph Rupp, basketball came to the Horse Cave Colored School and they quickly became the State Champions! As we listen to Tom read, we can virtually see, hear and smell what Horse Cave was like. And when we visit Horse Cave today, we can imagine the streets and the stores and the schools and the churches filled with these vivid characters whose friends and relatives still populate the town of Horse Cave.



The pride in this African American basketball team of the 1940s transcended the railroad tracks that divided the community. And today, basketball remains King in Horse Cave, with its teams that see no color.

On May 13, 2013, Brent Bjorkman, director of the Kentucky Folklife Program, sat down to record Tom Chaney as he read an excerpt from the book
Jump Johnny Jump by author Dick Burdette.

This reading is used with permission from the author. Recording is Courtesy of the Kentucky Folklife Program at Western Kentucky University.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Randall Curry,
Mayor of Horse Cave

“Basketball champions play for Harlem Globetrotters”


Clarence Glover,
Asst Principal, Farnsley Middle School, Jefferson County Public Schools Former Boston Celtics Basketball Player

“Basketball champions play for Harlem Globetrotters”

Tom Chaney
Co-owner
The Bookstore co-founder

“About the Book and the Author”

“Life In Horse Cave Before Basketball”

“The Arrival of Newton Thomas”

“How Adolph Rupp Changed Horse Cave Forever”

“Beyond Kentucky to College and the Globetrotters”

“First Year as a Globetrotter”

“Why so emotional?”