Sports in African American Life

Essays on History and Culture


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About the Book

African Americans have made substantial contributions to the sporting world, and vice versa. This wide-ranging collection of new essays explores the inextricable ties between sports and African American life and culture. Contributors critically address important topics such as the historical context of African American participation in major U.S. sports, social justice and responsibility, gender and identity, and media and art.

Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Drew D. Brown is an assistant professor of Africana Studies at the University of Delaware in Newark.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Drew D. Brown
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 270
Bibliographic Info: 9 photos, notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6964-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3766-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction (Drew D. Brown) 1

Part I: History
We Were Better Runners: African American Women and the Summer Olympics, 1932–1948 (Stanley Keith Arnold) 7

Sporting Congregations: The Foundation of Black College Football (Derrick E. White) 19

From Chitlins to Championships: Limited Opportunities for African American Professional Wrestlers (Kevin Hogg) 40

Part II: Social Justice and Responsibility

Social Justice and Black Basketball: Playing the Game On and Off the Court (Demetrius W. Pearson) 67

Social Responsibility and Accountability: Dr. Harry Edwards and the Paradox of the Black Male College Athlete (Fritz G. Polite and Jeremai E. Santiago) 85

African American Sport Activism and Broader Social Movements (Joseph N. Cooper, Michael Mallery, Jr., and Charles D.T. Macaulay) 97

Refusing to Play Their Games! A Fanonian Analysis and Robesonian Proposition on Sports, Race and Divestment (Miciah Z. Yehudah) 116

Part III: Gender and Identity

Black Women’s Sports Experiences Beyond the Game (F. Michelle Richardson and Akilah R. ­Carter-Francique) 141

The Stories of Boobie Miles and Rysheed Jordan: How the Institution of Sports Is Failing Black Male Athletes (Drew D. Brown and Christina Kanu) 159

“Man up”: Sport, Masculinity and African American Communities (Bruce Lee Hazelwood) 175

Part IV: Media and Art

Identity Construction: Media, Myth and Perception in Football Recruiting (Travis R. Bell) 195

The (African) American Dream: Spectacle and ­Post-Racial Teleology in U.S. Sports Films (Nathan ­Kalman-Lamb) 208

Rethinking Sports Fetishism in Contemporary African American Art (Daniel Haxall) 227

About the Contributors 251

Index 255

Book Reviews & Awards

• “The chapters in part 2 are particularly strong and indeed timely, given the unprecedented depth and breadth of contemporary activism among African American athletes—in nearly all sports—following George Floyd’s death in May of this year. …recommended”—Choice

• “Thought-provoking, engaging, and timely, this interdisciplinary collection of essays identifies the historical and contemporary themes at the intersection of race, gender, and sports and offers a path forward.”—Eric Hall, author, Arthur Ashe: Tennis and Justice in the Civil Rights Era