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The World of Sports!

by Amanda Newell on 2024-02-27T08:00:00-06:00 in African & African American, Books & eBooks | 0 Comments

Check out these books about star athletes!

Proud: My Fight for an Unlikely American Dream by Ibtihaj Muhammad. Ibtihaj stood out in the fencing world for both her race and religion. In her book, she describes the challenges she faced being the only African American wearing a hijab in her neighborhood. These same challenges followed her as she rose through the ranks of fencing and eventually became the only woman of color and only Muslim on the US fencing team heading to the Olympics.  Her book highlights her journey to stay true to herself and compete in the sport she loved. 

The Yards Between Us: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Football by R.K. Russell. In his book, Russell describes what his life was like both as a young man coming to terms with his athletic ability. He writes about his struggle to balance his career in the NFL, with his hidden personal life as a bisexual man when away from his team. This double life had a profound effect on both parts of his life. In 2019, once he had left the NFL, he finally decided to come out so he could live his life openly. 

Arthur Ashe: Tennis and Justice in the Civil Rights Era by Eric Allen Hall. Ashe was a tennis star in the 1960s and 1970s. At that time, he was one of very few African American players. He would become the first, and still only, Black man to win the men's singles at the US Open, Australian Open, and Wimbledon. While he was breaking barriers in the tennis world, he was also a civil rights activist for both the United States and South Africa. He continued his activism after he retired from tennis up until he died in 1993. 

Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, a Life in Balance by Simone Biles. After her domination of world championships and the Olympics, Simone Biles is now synonymous with gymnastics.  She talks about how a field trip to a local gym led to her joining a gymnastics class and the rest is history. Simone also talks about the personal and professional struggles she went through to make it onto the Olympic team and compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics.  

Jackie Robinson: An Integrated Life by Christopher J. Schutz. Jackie Robinson became the first African American player to play in the MLB in 1947. He had previously played a few seasons in the Negro League where he was scouted and chosen to be the first player to break the color line and join the MLB. This book also talks about the positive and negative effects Robinsons' integration into the MLB had on the nation. While it was a great but small step in the right direction, it was not all positive. The few African American players who were signed onto MLB were not often greeted warmly by fans and continued to face discrimination at home and away games. This integration of leagues also was the down fall of the Negro League. This book is a short encapsulation of the life and influence of Jackie Robinson. 

 

 


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