Lecture on Integration of Professional Football Jan. 30

Charles K. Ross, professor of history and African American studies at the University of Mississippi.
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Charles K. Ross, professor of history and African American studies at the University of Mississippi.

Charles K. Ross, professor of history and African American studies and interim department chair at the University of Mississippi, will present "State of the Game: The Struggle to Integrate the NFL on and off the Field" as the Department of History's 2023 Timothy Donovan Lecturer at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30, in Giffels Auditorium in Old Main.

As the Super Bowl approaches, Ross will examine the fraught racial history of the nation's most popular sport and the ways that Black players' concerted activism helped to fundamentally transform the game. Among the key themes will be the integration of the sport; Black struggles to be given opportunities on the field, especially at the quarterback position; and the limited number of opportunities extended to African Americans as head coaches.

The lecture builds on Ross' distinguished career as one of the foremost historians of Black players' efforts to fight racial discrimination within professional football. His first book — Outside the Lines: African Americans and the Integration of the National Football League­ — was published by New York University Press in 1999, and his second — Money, Mavericks, and Men: The AFL, Black Players, and the Evolution of Modern Football (Temple University Press, 2016) — examines how players leveraged the emergence of the NFL's main rival during the upheavals of the 1960s to change the sport and improve race and labor conditions.  

Ross earned his B.A. in history from Stillman College, M.A.s in Black studies and history from Ohio State University and his Ph.D. in history from Ohio State. In addition to his two monographs, he edited Race and Sport: The Struggle for Equality on and off the Field, which was published by University of Mississippi Press in 2004. He has appeared on various ESPN documentary programs, including "30 for 30" and "Outside the Lines."

The Donovan Lecture Series is named in honor of Timothy Donovan, former professor and chair of the Department of History at the U of A. The series has brought leading historians to campus. This event is co-sponsored by the Department of History in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.

Contacts

Michael Pierce, associate professor
Department of History
479-575-6760, mpierce@uark.edu

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