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A century ago, African-Americans were disenfranchised. Eleven years earlier in 1901, U.S. Rep. George Henry White of Tarboro, N.C., was the last black representative to resign, in a bitter speech after the vote was taken from North Carolina blacks.

And because few white schools admitted blacks, dozens of all-black colleges and universities had sprung up, opening just after the Civil War.

That was the backdrop for the formation of the country’s oldest black athletic conference. Its centennial celebration hits high gear today as thousands pour into Charlotte to cheer on basketball teams from the 12 schools of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association at their yearly tournament.

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