Out of the Shadows: A Biographical History of African American Athletes

Overview

The original essays in this comprehensive collection examine the lives and sports of famous and not-so- famous African American men and women athletes from the nineteenth century to today. Here are twenty insightful biographies that furnish perspectives on the changing status of these athletes and how the changes mirrored the transformation of sport, American society, and civil rights legislation.

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Overview

The original essays in this comprehensive collection examine the lives and sports of famous and not-so- famous African American men and women athletes from the nineteenth century to today. Here are twenty insightful biographies that furnish perspectives on the changing status of these athletes and how the changes mirrored the transformation of sport, American society, and civil rights legislation.

Out of the Shadows shows us athletes struggling to make it in a Jim Crow society—Jimmy Winkfield in horse racing, Marshall Taylor in bicycling, William Henry Lewis in football, and Jack Johnson—and those achieving success on an international stage while suffering segregation at home—Ora Washington (tennis), Satchel Paige, Jesse Owens, Joe Louis, Alice Coachman (track and field), and Jackie Robinson. In the twentieth century athletes saw opportunities to fight for civil rights through their performances as was the case with Althea Gibson (tennis), Wilma Rudolph, Bill Russell, Jim Brown, Muhammad Ali, and Arthur Ashe. Today's successful African American athletes, such as Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and Venus and Serena Williams, deal with issues of race and celebrity culture.

The contributors to this collection are some of today's best authors of sports history, including Gerald Early, Anthony O. Edmonds, Gerald R. Gems, and Donald Spivey. Together, these biographies not only provide insightful analyses of the athletes' careers, they tell a fascinating two-hundred-year-long story about the complex relationship between race and sport in America and how some gifted individuals achieved success on the playing field despite difficult living conditions and economiccircumstances.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Wiggins (professor & director, Sch. of Recreation, Health & Tourism, George Mason Univ.; Glory Bound: Black Athletes in a White America) presents a collection of 19 biographical essays by sports history authors on African American athletes ranging from the familiar (e.g., Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson) to the less well known (e.g., jockey Jimmy Winkfield, tennis and basketball star Ora Washington). The writings examine these athletes' sporting careers and their place in African American history. Both books are more scholarly than what is desired by average sports fans, but they are thoughtful studies and should be valuable purchases for large public and academic libraries. Jim Burns, Jacksonville P.L., FL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal

Adult/High School
This book examines 100 years of race relations, using 20 athletes as a lens on American society. Some names are familiar-Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson-but others are mostly unknown today-Jimmy Winkfield, Ora Washington. Each entry contains information about the athlete's career and post-career life, as well as an analysis of the role race played in the individual's success. The focus of the essays is sociological rather than biographical. The overarching thesis is that there were two basic types of African-American athletes: those who subscribed to the Booker T. Washington school of thought of slow integration prompted by displays of equality, and those who subscribed to the W.E.B. DuBois philosophy of immediate integration by demanding equality. Some may find this to be an oversimplification of a complex topic. The examination of contemporary athletes is directed toward identifying society's changing relationship with African-American athletes in terms of corporate sponsorship, using Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and the Williams sisters as examples. This is an academic collection that should find a place in larger libraries.
—Mary Ann HarlanCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557288264
  • Publisher: University of Arkansas Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2006
  • Edition description: NEW
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 459
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

David K. Wiggins, a leading authority on African American sport, is a professor and director of the School of Recreation, Health and Tourism at George Mason University. He is the editor of a number of books in the field, including The Unlevel Playing Field and Sport and the Color Line, both edited with Patrick Miller, and the author of Glory Bound: Black Athletes in a White America.

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