Life after Death in Louisville

This post is the fifth post in our Life and Legacy of Muhammad Ali Series guest edited by Andrew R.M. Smith. Muhammad Ali was a complex figure and he had a large influence beyond the United States. The goal of these posts is to explore various aspects of Ali’s life and reflect on his legacies, offering insight into understudied themes…

Jesse Owens Ran the Wrong Race: Athletes, Activism, and the 1960s

By Louis Moore At this year’s ESPY Awards we witnessed a powerful force, famous black athletes coming together to attack police brutality and gun violence in America and to place themselves squarely in the growing social justice movement. These athletes, NBA stars Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James used the beginning of…

The O.J. Syllabus

By Thomas P. Oates, Guest Contributor I frequently teach about OJ Simpson’s public career. In fact, I have probably assigned Leola Johnson and David Roediger’s classic essay “Hertz, Don’t It: Becoming Colorless and Staying Black in the Crossover of O.J. Simpson” more often than any other reading. The authors interrogate Simpson’s purported “colorlessness,” arguing that…

O.J. Simpson, Ex-Colored Man

By Brandon R. Byrd, Guest Contributor What would it mean to live beyond the color line? To live unencumbered by race; by blackness? Black novelists have tackled these questions time and time again. Passing. Colorism. Tragic mulattoes. These are common tropes in black literature since the nineteenth-century. The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man epitomizes this…

“The Fifth Quarter”: A Review of O.J. Made in America, Part Five

As part of ESPN’s 30 for 30, O.J.: Made in America examines O.J. Simpson’s movement through the American cultural, political, and social landscape of the past five decades. The five-segment documentary explores the significance of race, gender, celebrity, and violence in Simpson’s football career and later criminal trial. The Sport in American History blog will be reviewing all…