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Former Wildcat reaching out to young readers

The all time leading scorer and rebounder in UK history remains to be Valerie Still.

While Still made a name for herself on the basketball court, she doesn't want that to be her only legacy.

Recently she was in Lexington promoting her new book, one that took her on her own personal journey of finding out who she really was even though some of the history wasn't always pleasant.

On the court Valerie Still made a name for herself, decades later she is still a UK fan favorite.

Since her playing days Still has been on a mission to learn more about her family history, one that dates back to before the Civil War,in a time when her ancestors were bought and sold as slaves.

Still says she always felt destined to be in Lexington, little did Still know that history may have been a part it.

"When I found out that my ancestors, my great great uncles were enslaved at a plantation near Henry Clay's estate, they were building bricks that probably UK was built of," said Valerie Still.

Her childrens' book, Still Alive, is the first in a series.

It focuses on her ancestors like her great great great uncle William Still, a conductor on the Underground Railroad.

"He was a clerk that documented all the fugitives that came from the south going north to either Canada, Boston all of those places," said Still.

Having gone through some dark days, a divorce and the loss of her mother, and realizing many only knew her for her basketball talents, Still says this book was a way to finally define herself.

" I think history is extremely important and one of the things I want to convey to kids is that all history is your story, so if you know your story you know where you came from, it helps define who you are."

Still has always been proud of her history, but often distanced herself because of the legacy of slavery.

She says researching and penning her family's story has been validation for her ancestors, validation that she wants her son to know and and understand.

"I tell my son, I want you writing everyday, everything. Write it down, save it maybe someone will pick it up one day and see what you were all about."

Still's book " Still Alive" is sold out at Joseph Beth, but more copies have been ordered.


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