Emory Hosts Race and Sports Lectures

On Sept. 6 and 7, Emory Libraries will feature Race and Sports in American Culture Series (RASACS), the first event in a series of lineups inspired by the African Americans in Sports collection in its Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library (MARBL). This series is a follow-up to Emory Libraries’ first symposium, held in 2011, about race and sports in American culture. The symposium examined the effect of African American athletes and their impact on American culture.  This same year, the African Americans in Sports collection was organized.

New York Times sports journalist William C. Rhoden will start off the symposium with a keynote presentation on Sept. 6, followed by a screening and subsequent discussion of “The Ghosts of Ole Miss,” the ESPN documentary about the integration of the University of Mississippi with the attendance of James Meredith, on Sept 7. Rhoden, author of Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete, will speak from 6 to 8 p.m. in Woodruff Library in the Jones Room. His lecture will address the role of sports for African Americans in the changing global society followed by a question and answer session, book signing and refreshments.

The second day will also feature a panel discussion with NFL Hall of Famer Willie Lanier and sports author/biographer Michael MacCambridge. The panel, “The Evolution of the Game: How the 1970 Merger of the NFL and AFL Changed America,” will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Woodruff Library’s Jones room. Lanier, the first African American middle linebacker in the NFL (Kansas City Chiefs), was a member of the NFL Hall of Fame class of 1986. MacCambridge, adjunct professor at Washington University in St. Louis and author of America’s Game: The Epic Story of How Pro Football Capture a Nation, hopes to elevate the conversation about race and sports in American society.

Pellom McDaniels III, MARBL faculty curator of African American Collections and assistant professor of African American studies, and Dana White, Emory emeritus professor of American studies and MARBL senior faculty curator, organized the event in a joint project with RASACS. McDaniels moderated Emory’s first symposium in 2011 and has been working with MARBL to build research compilations.

Events surrounding the series theme will be featured throughout the 2013-14 academic year. On Nov. 13, 2013 the exhibit “Joe Louis Barrow: A Life and Career in Context,” an event focusing on boxer Joe Louis, will be featured. On Feb. 7, 2014, Super Bowl weekend, the Goizueta Business School and Emory will host a lecture called “The Great Sports Spectacle: Marketing the Super Bowl,” by Kenneth Shropshire, a Wharton School of Business professor of legal studies and business ethics. The series will be rounded out with the lecture “Dying to Compete: Sports, Commerce and the Future of Brain Injury Research” by Don Stein, neuroscientist at Emory University School of Medicine. Held on April 9, 2014, the presentation will include Stein’s leading research on the positive results of the effects of progesterone on traumatic brain injury.

– By Liza Atillasoy