Better than the Best: Black Athletes Speak, 1920-2007

Overview

In these engaging and forthright interviews, thirteen African American athletes talk about how they endured through pain, loneliness, and rejection to become champions. In sports as diverse as football and fencing, wrestling and track and field, these men and women triumphed over the odds to become better than the best. Their legacy is in their accomplishments and in their determination to continue contributing to the societal transformation their efforts helped make possible.

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Overview

In these engaging and forthright interviews, thirteen African American athletes talk about how they endured through pain, loneliness, and rejection to become champions. In sports as diverse as football and fencing, wrestling and track and field, these men and women triumphed over the odds to become better than the best. Their legacy is in their accomplishments and in their determination to continue contributing to the societal transformation their efforts helped make possible.

Arthur Ashe Jr. (tennis)Don Benning (wrestling)Nikke Franke (fencing)Ken Hudson (NBA referee)Jennifer Johnson (Paralympics table tennis)Sam Lacy (baseball and journalism)Alan Page (football)Maurice Smith (martial arts)Mae Faggs Starr (track and field)Wyomia Tyus (track and field)Peter Westbrook (fencing)Mal Whitfield (track and field)Lenny Wilkens (basketball)

University of Washington Press

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
The book's most remarkable contribution to the literature... is that it offers previously unpublished stories of great athletes, some of whom did not publish memoirs. Encountering their voices is a wonderful gift. Summing Up: Recommended. All readers.
The Bookmonger
Oral histories are a great way to capture the real flavor of the past by talking with people who not only were affected by the events that went on around them, but who sometimes helped to influence those events as well.
UW Today
Those stories are powerful indeed. Lacy is joined in this volume by track and field stars Mal Whitfield and Mae Faggs Star, NBA player and coach Lenny Wilkens, tennis great Arthur Ashe, and several others.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780295990538
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press
  • Publication date: 11/16/2010
  • Series: V Ethel Willis White Books
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 808,525
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

John C. Walter is professor emeritus of American ethnic studies, University of Washington. He is the author of The Harlem Fox: J. Raymond Jones and Tammamy and coeditor (with Johnnella Butler) of Transforming the Curriculum: Ethnic Studies and Women's Studies. In 1953 he came to the United States from Jamaica on a track scholarship to Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas. Malina Iida is a student at William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai'i.

University of Washington Press

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction ix

Sports Journalism Sam Lacy 3

Track and Field Mal Whitfield 23

Track and Field Mae Faggs Starr 39

Wrestling Don Benning 59

Basketball Lenny Wilkens 79

NBA Referee Ken Hudson 99

Tennis Arthur Ashe 115

Track and Field Wyomia Tyus 133

Football Alan Page 151

Paralympic Table Tennis Jennifer Johnson 171

Fencing Nikki Franke 187

Fencing Peter Westbrook 205

Martial Arts Maurice Smith 221

Black Athletes Interviewed for the Blacks in Sports Oral History Project 235

Selected Bibliography 237

Index 251

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2012

    Highly recommended.

    A wonderful compilation of stories about the athletes and their struggles to make it in their respective sports. Even more inspiring are the lessons they learned along the way which helped them reach much loftier rewards and to give back to their communities. Truly inspiring!

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