Championships and Civil Rights: Jake Gaither, FAMU, and the Early Civil Rights Movement

Wednesday, November 20, 2019 noon to 1 p.m.

Africana Studies presents the James Weldon Johnson Lecture Series

Join us as Dr. Derrick E. White, Visiting Associate Professor of History, Dartmouth College uses college football at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as a means to challenge the assumptions of inferior schools as argued during the civil rights movement.

From 1945 to 1969, FAMU had the best college football program in the state and one of the best in the country. Gaither was among the best coaches in the America. But when higher education was integrated, the programs faced existential challenges as predominately white institutions steadily set about recruiting their student athletes and hiring their coaches. Blood, Sweat, and Tears explores the legacy of Black college football, with Florida A&M’s Jake Gaither as its central character, one of the most successful coaches in its history. A paradoxical figure, Gaither led one of the most respected Black college football programs, yet many questioned his loyalties during the height of the civil rights movement.

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TCH: 351



History Department




black history African Studies Minors HBCU James Weldon Johnson Lecture Series