Arthur Ashe lectures on “Racism in Sports” in 1987

PicturePC: Wikipedia Commons

Listen to Arthur Ashe speak as part of the Celeste Bartos Forum at the New York Public Library in 1987 discussing “Racism in Sports.” Ashe discusses his findings on a topic that he had been exploring for the previous five years. This research culminated in his three-volume work A Hard Road to Glory: A History of the African American Athlete, which was released the following year. Looking back at racism in sport from the inception the United States through contemporary times in 1987, he notes seven considerations that frame the issue varying from the economic weight of sports and ubiquity of images of athletes in our society to the emotional influence it has on audiences to the racial history of America and how that history directly influences the tide of participation. He also employs historical facts and stories to show America’s systemic problems and provide ”further explanation of how this accumulation of problems may have surfaced today.” 

Though Ashe is a famed tennis player, he explores various sports, especially the big five sports of boxing, football, basketball, baseball, and track. Based on these historical precedents, he offers five conclusions about sport in American society for the near future related to the consumption and execution of competitive sports. Afterwards, Ashe partakes in an engaging question and answer session with the audience. 

Listen to the NYPL lecture here: http://www.wnyc.org/story/155967-arthur-ashe-1987/


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