How American Sports Challenged the Black Freedom Struggle
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
In 1968, noted sociologist Harry Edwards established the Olympic Project for Human Rights, calling for a boycott of that year's games in Mexico City as a demonstration against racial discrimination in the United States and around the world. Though the boycott never materialized, Edwards's ideas struck a chord with athletes and incited African American Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos to protest by raising their black-gloved fists on the podium after receiving their medals. Sidelined draws upon a wide range of historical materials and more than forty oral histories with athletes and administrators to explore how the black athletic revolt used professional and college sports to promote the struggle for civil rights in the late 1960s. Author Simon Henderson argues that, contrary to popular perception, sports reinforced the status quo since they relegated black citizens to stereotypical roles in society. By examining activists' successes and failures in promoting racial equality on one of the most public stages in the world, Henderson sheds new light on an often-overlooked subject and gives voice to those who fought for civil rights both on the field and off.
""This book adds significantly to our understanding of the interconnections among sport, race, and the civil rights movement in the United States." -- David K. Wiggins, coeditor of Rivals: Legendary Matchups That Made Sports History" --
""[ Sidelined] is an outstanding book that contributes to our understanding of the history of sport in the United States and to our understanding of race relations and civil rights. It provides valuable insights into post-1945 United States history." -- Derek Charles Catsam, author of Freedom's Main Line: The Journey of Reconciliation and the Freedom Rides" --
""Henderson offers a unique analysis of the 1960's black athletic revolt and places it in the broader context of sport and African American history. This book challenges popular understandings of the relationship between sport and desegregation. Placing athletes' voices front and center, Sidelined draws from over fifty new oral histories collected by the author."--Lane Demas, Integrating the Gridiron: Black Civil Rights and American College Football" --
"Drawing on historical materials and more than 40 oral histories, this book explores how athlete activists in professional and college sports promoted the struggle for civil rights in the late 1960s." -- Publishers Weekly
" Sidelined is the first work to grapple significantly with the social belief that integrated sportsindicated a significant advance in race relations, demonstrating that sports institutionsdisseminated the belief and that politics should not be interjected into sports, for example,as it was to undermine a proposed black boycott of the 1968 Olympics and related student-athlete protests. The book makes excellent use of National Collegiate Athletic Association(NCAA) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) files that demonstrate thoseorganizations viewed athletes' protests as public relations crises and were rarely concernedwith addressing athletes' concerns. The book advances discussion of sports' social utilityby demonstrating that much of society expected sports to reflect the liberal status quo andthat dissenting athletes, like other progressives, were repressed by the (sports) establishment.
[...]Sidelined is insightful concerning the connections between the black freedom movement and black athletes' protests and is well researched." -- Journal of Sports History