The Unlevel Playing Field: A Documentary History of the African American Experience in Sport


This collection of primary sources charts the significant, intertwining histories of African Americans and sport. Featuring introductions and headnotes by David K. Wiggins and Patrick B. Miller that place each selection in context, The Unlevel Playing Field contains more than one hundred documents on both pioneering and modern-day athletes.
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This collection of primary sources charts the significant, intertwining histories of African Americans and sport. Featuring introductions and headnotes by David K. Wiggins and Patrick B. Miller that place each selection in context, The Unlevel Playing Field contains more than one hundred documents on both pioneering and modern-day athletes.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780252072727
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2005
  • Series: Sport and Society Series
  • Pages: 493
  • Sales rank: 1,202,946
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Antebellum ordeals : slavery, sport, and the prospects of freedom
1 Black pioneer in sport 9
2 "Holiday times" 13
3 "A corn shucking" 17
4 "Patting Juba" 20
5 "Preachin' and baptizin'" 23
6 "Becoming a race rider" 24
7 Amos Webber reports on Thanksgiving Field Day 26
2 Striving for success : African American athletes in the early period of Jim Crow, 1865-1915
1 The color line in organized baseball 34
2 "Why discriminate?" 36
3 "The problem of amusement" 39
4 Samuel Archer and J. B. Watson on football at southern black colleges 43
5 "Negro foot-ball players on New England teams" 46
6 "Athletics in the American army" 50
7 "Managers troubles" 52
8 "Baseball among the fairer sex coming into prominence" 55
9 Isaac Murphy, the great Lexington jockey 58
10 Marshall "Major" Taylor, champion sprint cyclist 63
11 George Dixon's long career in boxing 66
12 Peter Jackson and the elusive heavyweight championship 68
13 William Henry Lewis : uplifting the race 71
14 "Papa Jack" : in the ring and out 74
15 Booker T. Washington and Jack Johnson : race men and respectability 77
16 W. E. B. Du Bois and Jack Johnson : the scholar's pugilist and the heavyweight champ as folk hero 79
3 Parallel institutions : black sports between the world wars
1 "Leisure time and the colored citizen" 88
2 "A baseball appeal" 91
3 "Will colored baseball survive the acid test?" 92
4 "Satchel's back in town" 93
5 "Baseball classic - east vs. west" 99
6 "Incomparable courteers" 102
7 "National American Tennis Association Championships" 105
8 J. Elmer Reed on the National Negro Bowling Association 108
9 Cum Posey : athlete and entrepreneur 110
10 Developing a high school basketball tournament 113
11 African American women make their marks in sport 115
12 Women's basketball and the shape of things to come : Bennett College vs. the Philadelphia Tribunes 119
13 "Nation eyes Lincoln and Howard game" 121
14 Hildrus A. Poindexter discusses the gridiron world : Lincoln, 1922-23 126
15 "The colored basketball referee finally arrives" 130
16 "Tuskegee and 'force' rapped for tribute to Knute Rockne" 133
17 "A strange tribe" : on the loyalties of black fans 135
18 W. E. B. Du Bois, Allison Davis, and Langston Hughes on the excesses of black college sport 137
4 The quest for racial reform : affirmation and protest in the sporting realm, 1920s and 1930s
1 James Weldon Johnson on sportsmen in Black Manhattan 145
2 "Free fantasia : tiger flowers" 149
3 Paris Noir : Eugene Bullard on the expatriate experience 151
4 Harry Levette and Herbert Henegan : two considerations of the 1932 Olympic games 154
5 "Black mercuries" : the meaning of black athletic achievement 156
6 "Race and runners" 158
7 Walter White to Jesse Owens on race pride and the Nazi Olympics 163
8 "The American Negro in sport" 166
9 "High tide in Harlem : Joe Louis as a symbol of freedom" 169
10 "A toast to Joe Louis" 174
11 Concerning the snubbing of Paul Robeson 177
12 The economics of bigotry : New Orleans bars blacks, loses a track meet 180
13 Integrationism in public recreation : Denver as a case study 182
14 Next bout - the NAACP vs. Jim Crow : Charles Hamilton Houston on the politics of sport in Washington, D.C. 183
15 "The Negro athlete and race prejudice" 186
16 "That old southern accent" 190
17 "Students, teachers blast ban against lacrosse player" : Harvard University and the color line 193
18 "Has professional football closed the door?" 196
5 African American athletes and democratic principles : interpreting the desegregation of sport, 1940s and 1950s
1 "Jackie Robinson on trial" 207
2 "Campy, Jackie as Dodgers" 210
3 "Negro baseball is at the crossroads" 213
4 "American integration, black heroism, and the meaning of Jackie Robinson" 215
5 "Society : status without substance" 222
6 "The top ten of the first fifty years" 223
7 Fritz Pollard "explains reasons for having a Negro Hall of Fame" 226
8 Nelson George on the Harlem Globetrotters 229
9 "New faces in pro football" 235
10 "Are there too many Negroes in baseball?" 237
11 To desegregate the golf courses of America 240
12 "Racial integration in the field of sports" 242
13 "And they call this a democracy" : Little League Baseball and the struggle for equality 246
14 "Weekend at the Penn relays" 247
15 The mugging of Johnny Bright 250
16 "The skies refused to fall" : Crispus Attucks High School and Indiana basketball 254
17 Is Ralph Dupas Negro or white? 257
18 "What now?" 260
19 Alex Haley on Wilma Rudolph/"the queen who earned her crown" 263
6 Sport, the civil rights movement, and black power, 1960s and 1970s
1 "Negro athletes and civil rights" 273
2 "On the road in the south, 1960" 277
3 "Rebellion at Cal" 282
4 "Mounting the revolt" 285
5 The boycott debate : Tommie Smith on "why Negroes should boycott" the Olympics, and Ralph Boston on "why they should not" 289
6 "The fight : Patterson vs. Liston" (1963) 296
7 "The Muhammad Ali-Patterson fight" 303
8 Elijah Muhammad disciplines Muhammad Ali 306
9 "Muhammad Ali faces the nation" 310
7 Progress, protest, and alienation in the sports factory, 1970s and beyond
1 Jesse Jackson on blacks and the sports $$$ 319
2 "The NFL sacks the black quarterback" 323
3 Eddie Robinson on Grambling's first white player 328
4 "We need to educate our athletes" : higher education and sports 332
5 "Black women in sports : can we get off the track?" 336
6 "In America's national pastime ... white is the color of the game off the field" 339
7 Racism in context 342
8 The decathlete as community-builder 347
9 "A team's true colors" : Washington Redskins on and off the field 355
10 An interview with Calvin Hill 361
11 Margo Jefferson on Arthur Ashe : "on the court, in the world" 371
8 Black cultural commentary : race relations and sport at the turn of the twenty-first century
1 "Delusions of grandeur" 381
2 Overcoming obstacles 383
3 "Left behind" : Title IX and black women athletes 387
4 "Dreams of conquest" 393
5 Jackie Joyner-Kersee, a woman of substance 398
6 "Be like Mike? : Michael Jordan and the pedagogy of desire" 401
7 "Playing Dennis Rodman" 407
8 "Iverson's posse" 411
9 Michael Wilbon on Tiger Woods : "history in black and white" 413
10 "NFL's silent majority afraid to force change" 417
11 Venus Williams's star endorsements 421
12 "The next millennium" 423
13 "Performance and reality : race, sports, and the modern world" 428
14 "The decline of the black athlete" 435
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