In order to explain the connection between football and civil rights, one guest speaker traced the relationship between players and coaches through time.
“The past that informs football and our country as we know it takes place in the sixties,” said Samuel Freedman. “To understand this interweaving, we must travel back to this era.”
Freedman, a journalism professor at Columbia University and a columnist for The New York Times, gave a lecture titled “Football and Civil Rights” at Carroll Hall Thursday.
The address was presented by the Center for the Study of the American South as part of its Hutchins Lecture Series. Freedman wrote a book about how the integration of collegiate football benefitted the civil rights movement in America.
About 35 people attended the lecture, which was held at 4:30 p.m. in the Freedom Forum of Carroll Hall.
“It was a good mix of community members and students,” said Jocelyn Neal, the center’s director.
Freedman spoke for more than an hour about how football coaches and players at historically black colleges contributed to the civil rights movement during the 1960s.
“There would have been no civil rights movement without black colleges,” Freedman said.
Freedman explained that separate athletics programs during the time caused the development of a strictly black football league.