In the Realm of Sports
The Unlevel Playing Field: A Documentary History of the African American Experience in Sport
By David K. Wiggins and Patrick B. Miller
University of Illinois Press, 2005
528 pp., $24.95 paperback, ISBN: 0-252-02820
The Unlevel Playing Field, new in paperback, contains more than 100 documents on the experiences of both pioneering and modern-day athletes. The book ranges in tone from a challenge issued by prizefighter Tom Molineaux in the London Times in 1810 to contributions from commentators like Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, James Baldwin and Eldridge Cleaver. Contemporary observers such as Nikki Giovanni, Henry Louis Gates Jr. and bell hooks offer their thoughts as well. Introductions and headnotes by David K. Wiggins and Patrick B. Miller place each document in context, shaping a compelling narrative.
Dr. David K. Wiggins teaches sport history at George Mason University. He is the author of Glory Bound: Black Athletes in a White America. Dr. Patrick B. Miller teaches history at Northeastern Illinois University. He is the editor of The Sporting World of the Modern South.
Female Gladiators: Gender, Law, and Contact Sport in America
By Sarah K. Fields
University of Illinois Press, 2004/5
240 pp., $30.00 cloth, ISBN: 0-252-02958
Female Gladiators is the first book to examine the legal and social battles that won women the right to participate with men in contact sports. The impetus to begin legal proceedings was the 1972 enactment of Title IX, which prohibited discrimination in educational settings, but it was the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the equal rights amendments of state constitutions that ultimately opened doors. Despite court rulings, however, many in American society resisted — and continue to resist — allowing girls in dugouts and other spaces traditionally defined as male territories.
Sarah K. Field is a visiting assistant professor of sport, exercise and the humanities at The Ohio State University.
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