Taylor has produced many historical African American figures. Most people know about Dr. James, Lee Dickey and Bill Pickett.
Did you know a Taylor born person was a part of NBA history? Did you know the first African American to serve as a security guard for the Texas Department of Public Safety in the Austin area is from Taylor?
Near the end of 2020, NBA Hall of Famer KC Jones passed away. That was when many people learned he was from Taylor.
Jones played in the NBA with Boston Celtics from 1958-1967. In those nine years, he won eight NBA titles. He later won two additional titles as a coach and two as an assistant coach.
As a player, he is tied for third for most NBA championships in a career and is one of three NBA players with an 8–0 record in NBA Finals series. He is the only African American coach other than Bill Russell to have won multiple NBA championships. Jones was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1989.
Jones was a part of a significant day not only in African American history, but also in NBA history.
On dec. 26, 1964, the Boston Celtics became the first team to start five African American players in an NBA game. Jones was in the lineup along with Sam Jones, Tom “Satch” Sanders, Bill Russell and Willie Naulls.
The Celtics would win 12 consecutive games with this starting five, which gave the lineup a perfect 12-0 record together. Boston finished the season with a league-best 62-18 record and won the franchise’s seventh consecutive title.
Tilmon Barnett Jr.
In 1964, Tilmon Barnett Jr., of Taylor, was the first African American to become a member of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) as a security guard in the Austin area.
When Barnett joined the department, he said he felt wonderful about it and his family was enthused over it.
At age 39, Tilmon could have been a highway patrolman, but at the time 39 years old was three years over the age for beginners. His first day was at the Capitol after three months of training at the DPS Academy.
The story of Tilmon’s accomplishment ran in the Aug. 22, 1968, issue of Jet magazine.
In 1969, the president of Prairie View A&M College extended an invitation for Tilmon to participate in career day and orientation to speak to young African American students in reference to careers in law enforcement and public safety.
After leaving the DPS, Tilmon continued his career in security and in 1977 advanced his career with IBM until 1991.