Indianapolis News and HeadlinesBlack History Month


Dust Bowl Tournament celebrated with a new documentary in the works

Dust Bowl Tournament celebrated with a new documentary in the works
Screenshot 2024-02-13 230452.png
Posted at 11:14 PM, Feb 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-13 23:24:54-05

INDIANAPOLIS — It's a key part of Indiana’s basketball history and one that helped shape a once segregated black Indianapolis community.

Tuesday, dozens of people gathered to pay tribute to the Dust Bowl and preview a documentary in the works called "Out of the Gardens: A Dust Bowl Story."

"I have flashbacks and I say, 'Wow, that's me back in the day,'" Charles "Binkey" Brown, who played in Dust Bowl from 1950-1954 said.

“I got inducted in the Indiana Hall of Fame,” Oscar Evans, who played in the Dust Bowl from 1968 to 1972 said.

For Brown and Evans, the Dust Bowl tournament holds a special meaning.

"It was at Lockefield Gardens. That's where everybody came on the weekends just to watch the basketball. Some of the best basketball players you ever want to see," Brown said.

Screenshot 2024-02-13 230535.png

It was 1945 when the Lockefield Gardens Dust Bowl kicked off.

"We eat, sleep, and drink basketball," Brown said.

The dirt court at the segregated housing complex on the west side was a gathering place for many young African Americans. Resident Anthony Watkins saw something bigger, giving young players something to shoot for.

"We took advantage of it. I wouldn't have been able to get no education," Evans said.

The Dust Bowl court grew in popularity catching attention across Indiana to the east coast. Birthing some dynamic black athletes who set many records in the Hoosier State.

Screenshot 2024-02-13 231022.png

"We won our fair share of tournaments in the summer. How many? They won 7 or 8 we won 5 or 6," Evans said.

Tuesday, players like Brown and Evans returned with others to preview a documentary in the works making sure the Dust Bowl story continues to resonate for generations to come.

"I have a legacy really. I wasn't looking for that. All I wanted to do was play and be accepted. I learned on the court if you become good a lot of good things come to you," Evans said.

Indiana University's Head Basketball Coach Mike Woodson was at the event joining other guests to help carry out the Dust Bowl's legacy.