Tackling Jim Crow

Racial Segregation in Professional Football

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About the Book

Many are familiar with Jackie Robinson and the integration of Major League Baseball after all the years of separate black and white leagues, but fewer people know of the segregation and then integration of the National Football League. The timing and sequence of events were different, but football followed a pattern similar to that of baseball in regard to the beginning and end of racial segregation.
This work traces professional football’s movement from segregation to integration, beginning with a discussion of the various reasons why the game was first segregated. It describes the schemes that NFL owners came up with to ban African Americans from the league in the 1930s and 1940s, and tells how these barriers broke down after World War II. The author considers how professional football overcame the legacies of Jim Crow and how Jim Crow laws may still haunt the game.

About the Author(s)

Longtime sports fan Alan H. Levy is a professor of American history at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Joe McCarthy (2005), Rube Waddell (2000) and several books on American music, including a biography of the noted composer Edward MacDowell.

Bibliographic Details

Alan H. Levy
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 180
Bibliographic Info: photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2003
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1597-7
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8385-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction      1

1. The Early Days of Integration      7

2. Early African Americans in Football      11

3. The Emerging Pro Game      18

4. Ohio Football      23

5. New League, New Opportunities      28

6. The Curtain Falls      38

7. The Segregation Years      57

8. Trials of the War Years      70

9. The Early Saga of Marion Motley      76

10. The Walls Come Tumbling Down      87

11. The Life and Death of Big Daddy and the Decline of Marion Motley     106

12. George Marshall’s Last Stand      120

13. Back Down in the City of New Orleans      138

14. Point After      148

Notes      157

Bibliography      165

Index      169

Book Reviews & Awards

“documentation of sources is exceptionally well done and exhaustively detailed…valuable…highly recommended”—Choice.