SPORTS & RECREATION

Blood, Sweat, and Tears: Jake Gaither, Florida A&M, and the History of Black College Football

Univ. of North Carolina. Aug. 2019. 320p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781469652443. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781469652450. SPORTS
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Written for an academic audience, this ambitious, thoroughly researched volume by White (history, Dartmouth Coll.) is a biography of Hall of Fame college coach Jake Gaither (1903–94), a chronicle of football history of his institution, Florida A&M, and, more broadly, of college football at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). All of this is done in light of the civil rights movement, which was also the halcyon days of football at HBCUs with powerful programs at Florida A&M, Grambling, Southern, Prairie View, Tennessee State, and Morgan State that competed with one another in the drive for excellence. A major point here is that the push for equality and integration was a double-edged sword that came with a price; the success of the civil rights movement decimated the thriving black-built institution of HBCU athletics that was particularly attuned to the needs of black students.
VERDICT A valuable resource for future scholars and for anyone interested in black college football.

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