Fields of Contest: Race, Region, and College Football in the U. S.South, 1945-1975 Open Access

Baker, Samuel Zebulon (2009)

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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


"To defer to some future date" 1 CHAPTER ONE "Let's go south!" 19 CHAPTER TWO "One big problem" 89 CHAPTER THREE "A place for them to sit" 158 CHAPTER FOUR "To attract Negroes where they have been traditionally absent" 222 CHAPTER FIVE "South Carolina has seceded again" 274 CODA "A natural thing" 331 Tables 350 Abbreviations 355 Bibliography 357

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