Fields of Contest:
Race, Region, and College Football in the U. S. South, 1945-1975
By Samuel Zebulon Baker
This project explores how ideas of race and region suffused the popular enterprise of college
football in the U. S. South, from the end of the Second World War to the days of desegregation in
the seventies. It stands as the first full-scale scholarly consideration of how the racial integration of
southern football unfolded, principally assessing the social and cultural dynamics which impelled, and
impeded, black participation at traditionally white institutions (TWIs). In so doing, I fix my gaze on
the politics of sport -- the game away from the game that shaped institutional policies of race and
competition. From College Station to College Park, gridiron ambitions were indissolubly bound by
the same vicissitudes of law, custom, and popular will which governed the relationship between
African Americans and the university itself. Situated as it was at the intersection of institutional
politics and social revolution, the rise of the black athlete is justly appreciated as of a piece with the
always complicated, ever maddening, and intractably deliberative process through which African
Americans were brought into the life of the campus. I establish how the dilemmas of race consumed
the university, from classroom to locker room, long before, and long after, black students first
enrolled in it. In turn, this project not only lengthens the timetable by which the struggle for civil
rights occurred in southern higher education, but widens the scholarly viewfinder, surveying the
trends -- competitive and commercial, academic and athletic, racial and regional -- that ultimately
dismantled the segregated culture of gameday.
Table of Contents
TABLE OF CONTENTS
"To defer to some future date"
"Let's go south!"
"One big problem"
"A place for them to sit"
"To attract Negroes where they have been traditionally absent"
"South Carolina has seceded again"
"A natural thing"
About this thesis
|Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor|
|Fields of Contest: Race, Region, and College Football in the U. S. South, 1945-1975 ()||2018-08-28||