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Benching Jim Crow: The Rise and Fall of the…

Benching Jim Crow: The Rise and Fall of the Color Line in Southern College…

by Charles Martin

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No Spoilers Here. This is an interesting book. It is formally written, with an introduction and conclusion to each section, so it gets a little repetitive. Then he spends the last 5 chapters talking about each conference (ACC, SEC, SWC) and each university & then it gets a lot repetitive.

He kept referring to whether teams had gained a competitive advantage or lost it by the timing of when they let black men play on their teams, but it was at a pretty general level. I don't know how important that was. Plus he mentioned the minimum ACC SAT scores a fair amount, but he doesn't delve into why that was such a barrier. And one of the most detailed examples of that is Pete Maravich. (Although Herm (NOT HERB!!!!) Gilliam is another.)

It is shocking how recent it all is...and I don't remember really realizing at the time how segregated so many teams still were. Another interesting book might look at the integration in the North, and how that developed...and you might find that the competitive advantage was more striking between Northern schools that were welcoming & those that weren't.

What I didn't realize was that some of the big stars were also the first or second black player on the team.

Anyway, a very interesting & worthwhile book.
  franoscar | Jul 29, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0252077504, Paperback)


Chronicling the uneven rise and slow decline of segregation in American college athletics, Charles H. Martin shows how southern colleges imposed their policies of racial exclusion on surprisingly compliant northern teams and explains the social forces that eventually forced these southern schools to accept integrated competition. Martin emphasizes not just the racism prevalent in football and basketball in the South, but the effects of this discrimination for colleges and universities all over the country. Southern teams such as the University of Alabama, University of Mississippi, and the University of North Carolina were obsessed with national recognition, but their Jim Crow policies prevented them for many years from playing against racially mixed teams from other parts of the country.
Devoting special attention to the Southeastern Conference, the Atlantic Coast Conference, and teams in Texas, Martin explores the changing social attitudes and culture of competition that turned the tide and allowed for the recruitment of black players and hiring of black coaches. He takes a close look at the case of Texas Western College (now the University of Texas at El Paso), the first major white university in an ex-Confederate state to recruit African American athletes extensively. Martin skillfully weaves existing arguments and documentation on the integration of college sports with wide-ranging, original research, including previously unpublished papers and correspondence of college administrators and athletic directors uncovered in university archives.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:37 -0400)

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