Gridiron Gauntlet: The Story of the Men Who Integrated Pro Football In Their Own Words

Overview

One year before Jackie Robinson broke the color line in major league baseball in 1947, four black players joined the Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Rams to become the first professional football players of African-American descent in the modern era. While blacks had played on professional teams in the early days of pro football, none had joined a team since 1934. In this book twelve players who began their careers from 1946 to 1955 not only reminisce about the violence they faced on and off the field, the ...
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Gridiron Gauntlet: The Story of the Men Who Integrated Pro Football, In Their Own Words

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Overview

One year before Jackie Robinson broke the color line in major league baseball in 1947, four black players joined the Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Rams to become the first professional football players of African-American descent in the modern era. While blacks had played on professional teams in the early days of pro football, none had joined a team since 1934. In this book twelve players who began their careers from 1946 to 1955 not only reminisce about the violence they faced on and off the field, the segregated hotels and restaurants, and general hostility that comes with being a trailblazer, but also of white players and coaches who assisted and supported them at various stages of their lives. Among the oral histories presented here are those of such Hall of Famers Bill Willis, Joe Perry, and George Taliaferro.
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Editorial Reviews

Midwest Book Review
An excellent and worthy contribution to sports history shelves, Gridiron Gauntlet is highly recommended.
Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Through firsthand accounts of the men who shaped their times, Gridiron Gauntlet provides fresh insight into an important era of sports history. An era that despite being too often overlooked, proved crucial to the making of the modern NFL.
Baltimore Ravens blog at Footballdiaries.com
...a book anyone who truly claims to be a fan of the early NFL needs to read.... Trust me, you won’t want to put it down.
Thebookjournal.Com
Anyone interested in history and sports should read this book. While diversity is a common sight on fields nowadays, it’s important to know and understand how that came to be.
Choice
...Piascik presents a living history, taking an engaging, informative sojourn through a critical, sometimes-forgotten, and often-ignored part of the evolution of today's NFL. Well written and thoroughly researched, this book will serve anyone interested in sports studies, sports history, and sociology. Recommended.
CHOICE
...Piascik presents a living history, taking an engaging, informative sojourn through a critical, sometimes-forgotten, and often-ignored part of the evolution of today's NFL. Well written and thoroughly researched, this book will serve anyone interested in sports studies, sports history, and sociology. Recommended.
WorldofFootball.com
Thanks to Gridiron Gauntlet, the stories of these 12 individuals have been preserved as a reminder that things were not always as they are today. There was racism, exclusion and prejudice in the 40's and 50's, but these men paved the way for future generations of football players, and they should not be forgotten.
Harry Edwards
Gridiron Gauntlet is a captivating reprise of lived history, an engaging, highly informative sojourn through the post-World War II reintegration of professional football as experienced and recalled by the sport's "second wave" of black players, the men whose sometimes ignored, mostly forgotten contributions and sacrifices were critical to the evolution of the game we see today.
Robert Lipsyte
Vivid and fresh, this is a terrific addition to the secret history of sports we all need to know if we want to understand today's players and games.
(Boston) Bay State Banner
Gridiron Gauntlet is a worthy addition to the scholarship on race in American sport. Because every word comes from the participants, the work, while serious, has the informality of a living room conversation with an accomplished and gregarious family member.
Public Employee Press - Jane LaTour
…[A] great addition to any sports lover’s bookshelf and a valuable contribution to the civil rights history of pro football.
Library Journal
Pro football was fully segregated from 1933 to 1945; the story of its integration is one of great significance—and not yet adequately addressed. Piascik (The Best Show in Football: The 1946–55 Cleveland Browns) interviewed a dozen black football players who played in the AAFC, the NFL, or the AFL between 1946 and 1961. The players ranged from Hall of Fame fullback Joe Perry and stars George Taliaferro and Bob Mann to lesser lights like Eddie Macon, Eddie Bell, Charlie Powell, and John Brown. Of particular interest is Harold Bradley, a guard for the Browns and Eagles in the 1950s whose father, Harold Sr., played in the NFL in the 1920s before the color ban was enacted. The reminiscences cover the lives of these men both in and out of football. The stories they tell are humorous, disturbing, angry, sad, and uplifting. An involving and essential read for anyone interested in football.—J.M.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781589796522
  • Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/16/2011
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,042,127
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Andy Piascik is an award-winning author whose articles have appeared in Z Magazine, The Indypendent, Jump Cut, and many other publications. For his book The Best Show in Football: The 1946-1955 Cleveland Browns, Pro Football's Greatest Dynasty (also published by Taylor Trade Publishing), he received the Professional Football Researchers Association's Nelson Ross Award. He is a member of the National Writers Union.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgment ix

Introduction 1

John Brown 11

Bob Mann 31

Joe Perry 51

Sherman Howard 69

George Taliaferro 89

Emerson Cole 111

Charlie Powell 131

Eddie Macon 149

Harold Bradley 169

Eddie Bell 187

Henry Ford 207

Bobby Watkins 227

Index 247

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    must read

    not only is this narrative well written...the use of the interviews by the former players takes the reader down a road that needed to be travelled. since the roster of the teams during this era was so small; the common thread of survival and quota links these men together. andy piascik has scored another game winning touchdown with his latest book. for those who treasure the game, this book is a must for your library.

    coach tj troup

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