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"Men’s College Athletics and the Politics of Racial Equality adds significantly to our understanding of the interconnection among sports, race, and American culture. Through five case studies, Kaliss provides important information on a select number of outstanding African American athletes who played for various predominantly white universities in different sections of the country. The case studies provide not only details about the lives and careers of such athletes as Paul Robeson, Woody Strode, Charlie Scott, and Wilt Chamberlain but also important insights into the changing pattern of sports and the influence of race over much of the twentieth century. Kaliss’s writing style, research methodology, and cogent analyses and interpretations provide a nuanced examination of African American participation in predominantly white college sports."
David K. Wiggins, Professor and Director, School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism, George Mason University
College sports have provided a compelling means to the discussion of issues regarding racial equality and fairness in American life. As previously-white institutions of higher learning gradually (and grudgingly) opened their playing fields to African American athletes in men's basketball and football, black and white spectators interpreted mixed-race team sports in often contradictory ways. In Men's College Athletics and the Politics of Racial Equality, Gregory Kaliss offers stunning insights into Americans' contested visions of equality, fairness, black manhood, citizenship, and an equal opportunity society.
Kaliss looks at Paul Robeson, Kenny Washington, Woody Strode, Jackie Robinson, Wilt Chamberlain, Charlie Scott, Bear Bryant, John Mitchell, and Wilbur Jackson to show how Americans responded to racial integration over time. Men's College Athletics and the Politics of Racial Equality reveals that as fans, media members, university students, faculty, and administration—black and white—discussed the achievements and struggles of these athletes, they inevitably talked about much more than what occurred on the field.
Excerpt available at www.temple.edu/tempress
"Kaliss illuminates alternative opinions on integrated sports in a well-written and thoroughly researched book that validates many of the alternative assertions and conclusions about race relations in the United States. He manages to situate the subject matter in a credible discussion of society and history, thus furthering our understanding of racial beliefs and anxieties about integration. Kaliss demonstrates that while both white and black presses were enthusiastic about sports for different reasons during different periods, they gave the integration of college sports vastly different meanings."
Dexter Blackman, Assistant Professor of History, Loyola Marymount University
"Kaliss examines five stories of pioneering African American athletes.... explaining how the athletes sought to achieve full citizenship through their athletic achievements.... He argues that their responses reveal much more than just what occurred on the playing field.... Summing Up: Recommended."
Introduction: College Sports, “Fair Play,” and Black Masculinity
1. “Our Own ‘Roby’” and “the Dark Cloud”: Paul Robeson at Rutgers, 1915–1919
2. “Harbingers of Progress” and “the Gold Dust Trio”: Kenny Washington, Woody Strode, Jackie Robinson, and the 1939 UCLA Football Team
3. “A First-Class Gentleman” and “That Big N——r”: Wilt Chamberlain at the University of Kansas, 1955–1958
4. “Our Colored Boy” and “Fine Black Athletes”: Charlie Scott at the University of North Carolina, 1965–1970
5. “Those Nigras” and “Men Again”: Bear Bryant, John Mitchell, and Wilbur Jackson at the University of Alabama, 1969–1973
Conclusion: What We Talk about When We Talk about Sports
Gregory Kaliss is Associate Editor of volume 9 of the Frederick Law Olmsted Papers Project, and Research Associate in American Studies at Franklin and Marshall College.
African American Studies
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