This week in our History and Politics of Sports class, we’ve been looking at African American history through the lens of sports. To wrap up the week, students submitted questions and ideas for Chris, Sam, and I to discuss on the newest episode of The 252.
We started with some questions about race and sports in the present day: what political and cultural effects resulted from athlete protests like the take-a-knee movement in the NFL, how Christians might view such activism, and why it was so problematic to attribute differences in athletic performance (or intelligence) to supposedly innate racial differences.
Then we revisited one of our favorite 252 games and tried to determine the four individuals who have the strongest case to appear on a Mount Rushmore of African American sports history. Our ten student groups had given multiple votes to boxing champions Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali, tennis stars Althea Gibson and Serena Williams, basketball legend Michael Jordan, Olympic runner Jesse Owens, baseball trailblazer Jackie Robinson, golf superstar Tiger Woods, and sociologist-activist Harry Edwards. Robinson and Ali were easy choices, but you’ll have to tune in to learn the other two heads on our hypothetical monument.
Finally, we closed with three things to see in the continuing absence of televised sports:
Sam Mulberry: the 1995 ACC men’s basketball tournament championship between North Carolina and Wake Forest (YouTube)
Chris Moore: Patrick Kiger’s article on “Oval Office Athletes” (History.com)
Chris Gehrz: the Dock Ellis “dockumentary” No No (Amazon Prime)