9780807026991

THE HERITAGE

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780807026991

  • ISBN10:

    0807026999

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2018-05-08
  • Publisher: Beacon Press

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Summary

Following in the footsteps of Robeson, Ali, Robinson and others, today’s Black athletes re-engage with social issues and the meaning of American patriotism

Named a best book of 2018 by Library Journal

It used to be that politics and sports were as separate from one another as church and state. The ballfield was an escape from the world’s worst problems, top athletes were treated like heroes, and cheering for the home team was as easy and innocent as hot dogs and beer. “No news on the sports page” was a governing principle in newsrooms.

That was then.

Today, sports arenas have been transformed into staging grounds for American patriotism and the hero worship of law enforcement. Teams wear camouflage jerseys to honor those who serve; police officers throw out first pitches; soldiers surprise their families with homecomings at halftime. Sports and politics are decidedly entwined.

But as journalist Howard Bryant reveals, this has always been more complicated for black athletes, who from the start, were committing a political act simply by being on the field. In fact, among all black employees in twentieth-century America, perhaps no other group had more outsized influence and power than ballplayers. The immense social responsibilities that came with the role is part of the black athletic heritage. It is a heritage built by the influence of the superstardom and radical politics of Paul Robeson, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Tommie Smith, and John Carlos through the 1960s; undermined by apolitical, corporate-friendly “transcenders of race,” O. J. Simpson, Michael Jordan, and Tiger Woods in the following decades; and reclaimed today by the likes of LeBron James, Colin Kaepernick, and Carmelo Anthony.

The Heritage is the story of the rise, fall, and fervent return of the athlete-activist. Through deep research and interviews with some of sports’ best-known stars—including Kaepernick, David Ortiz, Charles Barkley, and Chris Webber—as well as members of law enforcement and the military, Bryant details the collision of post-9/11 sports in America and the politically engaged post-Ferguson black athlete.

Author Biography

Howard Bryant is a senior writer for ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine and has served as the sports correspondent for NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday since 2006. He is the author of The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron; Juicing the Game: Drugs, Power, and the Fight for the Soul of Major League Baseball; Shut Out: A Story of Race and Baseball in Boston; and the three-book Legends sports series for middle-grade readers. A two-time Casey Award winner (2003, 2011) for best baseball book of the year, Bryant was also a 2003 finalist for the Society for American Baseball Research Seymour Medal. In 2016, he was a finalist for the National Magazine Award and received the 2016 Salute to Excellence Award from the National Association of Black Journalists. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

PROLOGUE
Here I Stand

PART ONE: RISE AND FALL

1. Stick to Sports

2. The Good Americans

3. Juice

4. Jump, Man

PART TWO: WAR GAMES

5. “Our Way of Life”

6. The Sanitation Department

7. Props

PART THREE: THE AWAKENING

8. Ferguson

9. Until We Get Some Say

10. “Who Is the Patriot?”

EPILOGUE
The Peacemakers

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
NOTES
BIBLIOGRAPHY

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