The Black Athlete in West Virginia

High School and College Sports from 1900 Through the End of Segregation

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About the Book

This chronicle of sports at West Virginia’s 40 black high schools and three black colleges illuminates many issues in race relations and the struggle for social justice within the state and nation. Despite having inadequate resources, the black schools’ sports teams thrived during segregation and helped tie the state’s scattered black communities together. West Virginia hosted the nation’s first state-wide black high school basketball tournament, which flourished for 33 years, and both Bluefield State and West Virginia State won athletic championships in the prestigious Colored Intercollegiate Athletic Association (now Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association). Black schools were gradually closed after the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, and the desegregation of schools in West Virginia was an important step toward equality. For black athletes and their communities, the path to inclusion came with many costs.

About the Author(s)

Bob Barnett is a professor emeritus at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, where he taught classes in and researched sport history for 35 years.
Dana Brooks is the dean and professor emeritus in the College of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. He was at West Virginia University for 41 years and was a former president of the American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (2009-2010). His research interest focus on the African American athletes’ experience.
Ronald Althouse is a professor emeritus in the department of sociology and anthropology at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia where he was the director of the survey research center. He contributed to the literature on athletic participation.

Bibliographic Details

Bob Barnett, Dana Brooks and Ronald Althouse
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: ca. 35 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7897-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3875-1
Imprint: McFarland

Book Reviews & Awards

The Black Athlete in West Virginia is an original and significant contribution to the history of African Americans and school sports, and is especially valuable as it is first such work that covers one state, all the relevant sports, and in both high schools and colleges. This laudable one-state exploration allows the authors to show how West Virginia’s race relations, in particular, presented so many divergences from the norm that occurred in other states. It is voluminously researched, including interviews going back to the 1980s.”—Robert Pruter, author of The Rise of American High School Sports and the Search for Control, 1880-1930