In 1915, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a pioneering black intellectual and the son of former slaves, recognizing “the dearth of information on the accomplishments of blacks . . . founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).”
Dr. Woodson and the ASALH would later, in 1926, establish the celebration that would go on to become known as Black History Month, choosing the month of February in order to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
Today, the ASALH continues Dr. Woodson’s legacy as the progenitor of Black History Month by “disseminating information about black life, history and culture to the global community.”
Throughout our history, UC Press is proud to have published a great volume of work concerning the topics of black art, literature, politics, and more. Please join us throughout the month as we participate in this global celebration of black history.
by Theresa Runstedtler
“Using the color line as her yardstick, Runstedtler brilliantly measures Johnson’s global impact. . . . She adds fresh insights about the meaning of Johnson’s life, and she suggests new ways of understanding sport, race, and history.”
—Journal of American History
In his day, Jack Johnson—born in Texas, the son of former slaves—was the most famous black man on the planet. As the first African American World Heavyweight Champion (1908–1915), he publicly challenged white supremacy at home and abroad, enjoying the same audacious lifestyle of conspicuous consumption, masculine bravado, and interracial love wherever he traveled. Jack Johnson, Rebel Sojourner provides the first in-depth exploration of Johnson’s battles against the color line in places as far-flung as Sydney, London, Cape Town, Paris, Havana, and Mexico City. In relating this dramatic story, Theresa Runstedtler constructs a global history of race, gender, and empire in the early twentieth century.
by Aram Goudsouzian
“Goudsouzian captures the complexities of the man behind the fame, both his strengths and his foibles.”
In King of the Court, Aram Goudsouzian provides a vivid and engrossing chronicle of the life and career of this brilliant champion and courageous racial pioneer. Bill Russell’s leaping, wide-ranging defense altered the game’s texture. His teams provided models of racial integration in the 1950s and 1960s, and, in 1966, he became the first black coach of any major professional team sport. Yet, like no athlete before him, Russell challenged the politics of sport. Instead of displaying appreciative deference, he decried racist institutions, embraced his African roots, and challenged the nonviolent tenets of the civil rights movement. This beautifully written book—sophisticated, nuanced, and insightful—reveals a singular individual who expressed the dreams of Martin Luther King Jr. while echoing the warnings of Malcolm X.
by Samantha N. Sheppard
(forthcoming June 2020)
“Sporting Blackness is sure to be a touchstone in the rising tide of scholarship on the nexus of media, sport, culture, and power. It invents and introduces several concepts—particularly ‘critical muscle memory’—that will productively reverberate across the fields that this excellent interdisciplinary book puts into conversation.”
––Travis Vogan, author of ABC Sports: The Rise and Fall of Network Sports Television
Sporting Blackness examines issues of race and representation in sports films, exploring what it means to embody, perform, play out, and contest blackness by representations of Black athletes on screen. By presenting new critical terms, Sheppard analyzes not only “skin in the game,” or how racial representation shapes the genre’s imagery, but also “skin in the genre,” or the formal consequences of blackness on the sport film genre’s modes, codes, and conventions.