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Theresa Runstedtler

Sporting Publics Symposium | Panel: “‘Rich and Talented and Black and Troubled’: Black Professional Athletes and the Black Freedom Struggle”

Event Type
Humanities Research Institute
Levis Faculty Center, Room 210
Mar 29, 2024   9:30 am  
Theresa Runstedtler (American Studies, American University)
Humanities Research Institute
Originating Calendar

Panel: “‘Rich and Talented and Black and Troubled’: Black Professional Athletes and the Black Freedom Struggle” 

Theresa Runstedtler (American Studies, American University) will be presenting, with Daniel Gilbert (Labor and Employment Relations, History) commenting. Part of the symposium Sporting Publics: History, Sports, and American Culture, which is taking place March 28–29, 2024.

Runstedtler’s presentation draws on her 2023 book Black Ball, exploring how African American basketball players challenged the status quo on the court and in US society.

About the Speaker
Theresa Runstedtler, PhD is an award-winning scholar of African American history whose research focuses on the intersection of race, masculinity, labor, and sport. Her most recent book, Black Ball: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Spencer Haywood, and the Generation that Saved the Soul of the NBA (Bold Type Books, 2023), examines how Black players transformed the professional hoops game, both on and off the court, in the 1970s. She is also the author of Jack Johnson, Rebel Sojourner: Boxing in the Shadow of the Global Color Line (UC Press, 2012), a transnational biography that explores the first African American world heavyweight champion’s legacy as a Black sporting hero and anti-colonial icon in places as far-flung as Sydney, London, Cape Town, Manila, Paris, Havana, and Mexico City. Jack Johnson, Rebel Sojourner won the 2013 Phillis Wheatley Book Prize from the Northeast Black Studies Association. Runstedtler has written for and the LA Review of Books, and shared her expertise on the History Channel, Al Jazeera America,, NPR, and international radio outlets including the BBC and CBC. Originally from Ontario, Canada, she is a professor at American University and lives in Baltimore with her husband and son.

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