Glory Bound: Black Athletes in a White America

By David K. Wiggins | Go to book overview

Introduction

This collection of essays recounts the involvement of black athletes in American sport. Written at various stages during my nearly seventeen years in academia, the essays in this collection, ten of which have been previously published, have been kept substantially in their original form with the exception of selected footnotes which have been slightly altered to reflect the most current research literature. My intent in putting this collection together is to make the essays more readily available to scholars who have an interest in sport, race, and civil rights issues. I believe the essays provide insights into the experiences of African American athletes not always found in other secondary works. For one thing, the essays are based on a variety of different sources, including little known materials emanating from the African American community. I have employed materials ranging from slave narratives and black newspapers to black autobiographies and personal memoirs. At the time the essays first appeared, they tackled subjects not previously examined by other academicians, emphasizing the role of sport in the black community, interrelationships between black and white athletes, and the effect of racial discrimination at the various levels of sport.

I first became interested in the history of African American athletes as a beginning graduate student at San Diego State University during the early 1970s. The increasing amount of media attention given to African American athletes, the growing number of academic studies being completed on various aspects of black life and culture, and the emergence of sport studies as a legitimate area of scholarship within departments of physical education all combined to spark my interest in the black athlete's past. My initial attempt to write seriously about the history of African American athletes was a term paper I completed for a graduate course taught by the late Reet Howell. Although I cannot recall the exact title of the paper, I do remember Dr. Howell's liberal use of her red ink pen and strong suggestion to delimit my topic and establish a consistent theme.

-xiii-

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