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Scholars Day 2008, Wednesday, April 9

Resisting Suffrage, Integration, and Apartheid in Twentieth-Century America

When Jackie Robinson crossed the color barrier in professional baseball, he achieved the first step toward the integration of sports. Yet, like most black athletes in professional sports, his accomplishments did not come easy and he faced extreme resistance to his integration. Years after Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball (MLB), Bill Russell signed with the Celtics in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and faced similar racist reactions to his presence on the court. The lives of Bill Russell and Jackie Robinson demonstrate the various methods and tactics that white Americans employed to resist African American’s successful integration of professional basketball and baseball. Specifically, this paper explores the institutionalized racism reflected in “gentlemen’s agreements” and Jim Crow Laws, as well as the racist tactics of individual bigots within the media, among fans, player and managers that both Jackie Robinson and Bill Russell were forced to confront during their careers.

Presenter: Jacqueline Scala (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: History
Location: 217 Hartwell
Time: 4 pm (Session V)