Break Point: Two Minnesota Athletes and the Road to Title IX

Break Point: Two Minnesota Athletes and the Road to Title IX

by Sheri Brenden
Break Point: Two Minnesota Athletes and the Road to Title IX

Break Point: Two Minnesota Athletes and the Road to Title IX

by Sheri Brenden


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How two teenage girls in Minnesota jump-started a revolution in high school athletics

Peggy Brenden, a senior, played tennis. Toni St. Pierre, a junior, was a cross country runner and skier. All these two talented teenagers wanted was a chance to compete on their high school sports teams. But in Minnesota in 1972 the only way on the field with the boys ran through a federal court—so that was where the girls went. Break Point tells the story, for the first time, of how two teenagers took on the unequal system of high school athletics, setting a legal precedent for schools nationwide before the passage of Title IX.

As Peggy’s younger sister, author Sheri Brenden is uniquely positioned to convey the human drama of the case, the stakes, and the consequences for two young women facing the legal machinery of the state, in court and in school. In an account that begins with Peggy painstakingly typing her appeal to the Minnesota Civil Liberties Union and concludes with a long view of what Brenden v. Independent School District 742 set in motion, Sheri Brenden summons the salient details of this landmark case as it makes its way through the courts. Peggy and Toni, coaches, administrators, and experts testify before Judge Miles Lord, whose decision, upheld in a precedent-setting appeal, would change these girls’ lives and open up athletic opportunities for innumerable others.

Grounded in newspaper coverage, court records, and interviews, Brenden’s deeply researched, scrupulously reported book is at heart the story of two talented teenage girls whose pluck and determination—and, often, heartache—led to a victory much greater than any high school championship.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781517914585
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Publication date: 12/27/2022
Pages: 200
Sales rank: 532,619
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Sheri Brenden is a former research librarian who worked for two of Minnesota’s largest law firms and, as a reporter, for the St. Cloud Daily Times. To support her writing of this book, her sister entrusted her with the now-fragile scrapbook she compiled of news articles, letters, and her light-hearted narrative How to Play High School Tennis—An Instructional Manual.

Table of Contents

Prologue ix

1 The Letter 1

2 Kill 'Em With Cool 19

3 Court Strategy 27

4 Taking the Stand 47

5 Educators and Experts 67

6 In Closing 81

7 Decision 99

8 Violation of the Fourteenth Amendment 105

9 Peggy's Match 111

10 Toni's Race 127

11 "The Courts Forced This On Us" 143

12 Stand Up 153

Acknowledgments 161

Notes 165

Further Reading 181

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