Designated weeks or months for certain ideas or campaigns are helpful, e.g. National Breast Cancer Awareness. The key, though, is to not focus all of one’s efforts to that one period of time, for the cause in question is one that is very likely an ongoing issue. So you can and should think about breast cancer the other 11 months of the year, not just in October. The fight is too large to limit to a short period of time.
The same can be said when it comes to more academic, or erudite, pursuits. For example, learning about our nation’s history. There are (too many) surveys out there that highlight people’s lack of knowledge about our basic national history. (In a recent poll, only 58 percent of Americans know when the country declared independence. Nearly a fourth of respondents said they were unsure and sixteen percent said a date other than 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was signed.)
Thankfully there are those out there who are trying to teach us, actually using sport as a vehicle to deliver broader knowledge about who we are as individuals and as a country. I count Dave Zirin and Kareem-Abdul Jabbar amongst those in this special group.
I learned recently of another effort which seems like it is full of necessary information and insight about who we are. The special program taking place at Emory University involves the collection of historical items of all types which highlight “the effect (African-American) athletes and others in the sports world had on the civil rights movement and their struggle to be recognized for the impact of their achievements on society.
To read the full piece by Maureen McGavin from Emory University, please click here. We provide excerpts below.
Emory University’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL) has a new collecting focus: African Americans in sports. The collection brings to light the effect athletes and others in the sports world had on the civil rights movement and their struggle to be recognized for the impact of their achievements on society.
Former NFL player Pellom McDaniels III 06G 07PhD, who is MARBL’s consultant curator for the collection, says many African American athletes were instrumental in the civil rights movement, including Muhammad Ali, Arthur Ashe, Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Curt Flood, and 1968 Olympic track and field medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos. McDaniels, who earned master’s and Ph.D. degrees in American studies from Emory’s Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts, is also an author and an assistant professor of history and American studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
…The African Americans in Sports collection currently consists of items purchased by Burkett at auctions, supplemented by materials from other MARBL African American collections and the Partin collection.
Some of the significant items in the new collection include:
- A publicity photo of boxer Joe Louis and a ticket stub from the Joe Louis/Max Schmeling fight in 1938.
- A color illustrated print of Tom Cribb knocking out Tom Molineaux at a London fight in the first half of the 19th century.
- A team photo of the Atlanta Black Crackers, the counterpart to the white Minor League Atlanta Crackers baseball team, active in the first half of the 20th century.
- Broadsides promoting games and baseballs autographed by Hank Aaron, Satchel Paige, Buck O’Neil, and other legendary players from the Clyde Partin collection.
To read the full piece by Maureen McGavin from Emory University, please click here.