Football at Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Texas

978-1-62349-799-6 Cloth
6.125 x 9.254. 282 pp. 42 b&w photos. Bib. Index.
Pub Date: 08/27/2019
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“In Texas, football is king,” Rob Fink writes, “so it provides a prominent window on Texas culture.” In Football at Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Texas, Fink opens this window to afford readers an engaging view of not only the sport and its impact on African Americans in Texas, but also a better and more nuanced perception of the African American community, its aspirations, and its self-understandings from Reconstruction to the present. This book focuses on crucial themes of civil rights, personal and group identity, racial pride, and socio-cultural empowerment.

Although others have examined specific institutions, time periods, and rivalries in black college football, this book is the first to feature a broad narrative encompassing an entire state. This wide field of play affords the opportunity to explore the motivations and contexts for establishing football teams at historically black colleges and universities; the institutional and community purposes served by athletic programs; and how these efforts changed over time in response to changes in sport, higher education, and society. 

Fink traces the rise of the sport at HBCUs in Texas and the ways it came to symbolize and focus the aspirations of the African American community. He chronicles its decline, ironically due in part to the gains of the civil rights movement and the subsequent integration of black athletes into previously white institutions. Finally, he shows how HBCUs in Texas have survived in the twenty-first century by concentrating on balanced athletic budgets and a carefully honed appeal to traditional rivalries and constituencies.

Swaim-Paup Sports Series, sponsored by James C. '74 & Debra Parchman Swaim and T. Edgar '74 & Nancy Paup

Published by Texas A&M University Press