BLACK CHAMPIONS CHALLENGE AMERICAN SPORTS by Wally & Jim Washington Jones

BLACK CHAMPIONS CHALLENGE AMERICAN SPORTS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A decade-by-decade recitation of black heroics and white prejudice in American sports from the 1870's to the present, long on lists of names and heavy with reverse-racist braggadocio only casually qualified by a ubiquitous ""perhaps"": Josh Gibson was ""the greatest catcher and hitter who ever lived,"" Satchel Paige ""the greatest pitcher,"" Syracuse University's '30's footballer Wilmeth SidatSingh, a Harlem black adopted by a Hindu, ""the finest passer of all time,"" etc. Black-is-more-thanbeautiful-it's-best is the theme of this crowded sports history and Jones and Washington, both Philadelphia 76ers basketball players, aren't worried about the number of deliberate fouls here, e.g., during the '60's ""there were fewer outstanding Blacks in the American League than in the National, a fact which perhaps accounts for why the National League won almost every All-Star Game in the decade."" Ouch. At the end of each decade, Jones and Washington pick the top black athlete, choosing such standouts as jockey Bill Walker (1870's), bicycle racer Marshall W. Taylor (1890's), tennis star Ora Washington ('20's), and contemporaries Joe Lewis, Jackie Robinson (""the most important single pioneer in the history of American athletics""), Jim Brown, Bill Russell, and Lew Alcindor (now Kareem Abdul Jabbar). The fairness evident in these plausible selections however stands in direct contrast to the monolithic racial aggrandizement which mars the book throughout.

Pub Date: Jan. 10th, 1971
Publisher: Luce -- dist. by McKay