Edward C. McMillon II
The Black Power Movement: Effects on the Sports World
The Black Power Movement was a big issue in the 1960’s; a “time frame” taking the Sports world by storm. The Black athlete can be traced back to ancient times but after American Slavery the Black Power Movement has given The African American athlete a platform to fight for Social Change. In my paper I will briefly discuss events after World War II relating to African American athletes, but I will primarily focus on the 1960’s effects on African American athletes on the U.S. and the world since that time period.
In the introduction of Sports and the Racial Divide “Since the end of World War II, African Americans have left their imprint on professional, college, and high school sports in the United States. Their accomplishments on the field of play afforded them the opportunity to strive for social justice and equality off the field”. Nevertheless, these men and women still endured many of the racial indignities to which their parents’ generation had been subjected. Success in the athletic arena did not necessarily result in rewards off the court. But this generation of African American athletes refused to accept the status quo. They expected to live in a different America and in a different sports world. Continued athletic excellence and collective action to break down racial barriers to political, economic, and social equality have helped U.S. society work toward the ideals on which this country was founded (Lomax).
In A proposed August 1961 boycott of a National Football League (NFL) exhibition game in Norfolk, Virginia, proved somewhat more effective, however. Three Norfolk lawyers asked black players on the Baltimore Colts to sit out the game against the Washington Redskins, who had no African American players. Colts officials worked out an agreement with the boycott’s organizers, but in accordance with Virginia law, seating in the stadium would remain segregated. The incident led Colts’ management to pledge that the team would never again deal with the “unsavory task of playing in an atmosphere of discrimination.” (Lomax, 55). This incident showed the power that athletes that are valued, could have some influence. The Redskins organization face of the team is an African American. I believe that because of protest like the one mentioned Robert Griffith the III can be the face of the program at least showing some sort of progress for African Americans.
Arguably Black Power was on display for the World to see during the Olympics in Mexico. On October 7, 1967, a group of African American athletes and Black Power activists, led by Harry Edwards, formed the Olympic Committee for Human Rights (OCHR). The formation of the OCHR was in response to an informal survey Edwards conducted to assess the attitudes of world-class athletes regarding the problems black athletes faced specifically and issues affecting the black community in general. (Lomax, Chapter 3). In 1968, the created a plan and when the two runners finished their race they stood on the podium barefoot,