Lost Champions: Four Men, Two Teams, and the Breaking of Pro Football's Color Line

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  • Additional Information
    • Publication Information:
      American Library Association
    • Publication Date:
      2016
    • Abstract:
      Lost Champions: Four Men, Two Teams, and the Breaking of Pro Football's Color Line. By Gretchen Atwood. Sept. 2016.288p. illus. Bloomsbury, $27 (9781620406007); e-book, $18.99 (9781620406021). 796.332. Sports journalist Atwood [...]
    • ISSN:
      0006-7385
    • Rights:
      Copyright 2016 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.
      COPYRIGHT 2016 American Library Association
    • Accession Number:
      edsgcl.463755063
  • Citations
    • ABNT:
      LEVINE, M. Lost Champions: Four Men, Two Teams, and the Breaking of Pro Football’s Color Line. Booklist, [s. l.], n. 1, p. 38, 2016. Disponível em: http://widgets.ebscohost.com/prod/customlink/proxify/proxify.php?count=1&encode=0&proxy=&find_1=&replace_1=&target=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsgao&AN=edsgcl.463755063&authtype=sso&custid=s1007886. Acesso em: 26 set. 2020.
    • AMA:
      Levine M. Lost Champions: Four Men, Two Teams, and the Breaking of Pro Football’s Color Line. Booklist. 2016;(1):38. Accessed September 26, 2020. http://widgets.ebscohost.com/prod/customlink/proxify/proxify.php?count=1&encode=0&proxy=&find_1=&replace_1=&target=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsgao&AN=edsgcl.463755063&authtype=sso&custid=s1007886
    • APA:
      Levine, M. (2016). Lost Champions: Four Men, Two Teams, and the Breaking of Pro Football’s Color Line. Booklist, 1, 38.
    • Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date:
      Levine, Mark. 2016. “Lost Champions: Four Men, Two Teams, and the Breaking of Pro Football’s Color Line.” Booklist. http://widgets.ebscohost.com/prod/customlink/proxify/proxify.php?count=1&encode=0&proxy=&find_1=&replace_1=&target=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsgao&AN=edsgcl.463755063&authtype=sso&custid=s1007886.
    • Harvard:
      Levine, M. (2016) ‘Lost Champions: Four Men, Two Teams, and the Breaking of Pro Football’s Color Line’, Booklist, p. 38. Available at: http://widgets.ebscohost.com/prod/customlink/proxify/proxify.php?count=1&encode=0&proxy=&find_1=&replace_1=&target=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsgao&AN=edsgcl.463755063&authtype=sso&custid=s1007886 (Accessed: 26 September 2020).
    • Harvard: Australian:
      Levine, M 2016, ‘Lost Champions: Four Men, Two Teams, and the Breaking of Pro Football’s Color Line’, Booklist, no. 1, p. 38, viewed 26 September 2020, .
    • MLA:
      Levine, Mark. “Lost Champions: Four Men, Two Teams, and the Breaking of Pro Football’s Color Line.” Booklist, no. 1, 2016, p. 38. EBSCOhost, widgets.ebscohost.com/prod/customlink/proxify/proxify.php?count=1&encode=0&proxy=&find_1=&replace_1=&target=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsgao&AN=edsgcl.463755063&authtype=sso&custid=s1007886.
    • Chicago/Turabian: Humanities:
      Levine, Mark. “Lost Champions: Four Men, Two Teams, and the Breaking of Pro Football’s Color Line.” Booklist, 2016. http://widgets.ebscohost.com/prod/customlink/proxify/proxify.php?count=1&encode=0&proxy=&find_1=&replace_1=&target=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsgao&AN=edsgcl.463755063&authtype=sso&custid=s1007886.
    • Vancouver/ICMJE:
      Levine M. Lost Champions: Four Men, Two Teams, and the Breaking of Pro Football’s Color Line. Booklist [Internet]. 2016 [cited 2020 Sep 26];(1):38. Available from: http://widgets.ebscohost.com/prod/customlink/proxify/proxify.php?count=1&encode=0&proxy=&find_1=&replace_1=&target=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsgao&AN=edsgcl.463755063&authtype=sso&custid=s1007886

Reviews

Booklist Reviews 2016 September #1

Sports journalist Atwood deals with a conundrum: despite baseball's pre-eminence, professional football achieved racial integration earlier (in 1946, a year before Jackie Robinson took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers). And yet, she argues, the breakers of football's color barrier—Kenny Washington, Marion Motley, Woody Strode, and Bill Willis—have received much less attention than Robinson (who played football with Washington and Strode at UCLA). Atwood tells the stories of the four players and the two teams they played for—Washington and Strode for the L.A. Rams, Motley and Willis for the Cleveland Browns)—noting that, like Robinson, the four endured death threats and other forms of racism throughout their careers. Atwood attempts to place her account of the integration of professional football into the larger context of civil rights in the 1940s, and while this approach makes sense, the broader focus leads her in too many directions (housing covenants, legal battles, the role of civil-right activist Pauli Murray), somewhat diluting the main story line. Still, there is plenty of valuable material here about the early days of professional football and the game's role in fostering integration. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2016 August #1

While 1946 is famous as the year Jackie Robinson integrated Major League Baseball, it is also the year that professional football reintegrated after a 12-year ban on black players. Four players were the gridiron pioneers: Kenny Washington and Woody Strode for the Los Angeles Rams, and Bill Willis and Marion Motley for the fledgling Cleveland Browns of the new All-America Football (AFL) Conference. In 1950, the Browns and the Rams competed for the NFL championship. Although both Washington and Strode were gone by then, former sportswriter Atwood uses the play-by-play of that game as a touchstone. Where the author runs astray is in providing context to the ordeal of the four men. She does not tell the story chronologically, but with wavering success, trying to weave vastly disparate threads into a whole. While background about the four principals and their teams is excellent, equal coverage of Willis and Motley would have been a welcome addition. VERDICT There is enough powerful material here to recommend this title to all football fans, although a stronger focused narrative would have heightened the appeal.

[Page 100]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

PW Reviews 2016 July #4

Focusing on the 1946 Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Rams, sports journalist Atwood provides snapshots of the pro football game from the days of the old-T and the single-wing offense up to 1950, by which time most NFL teams ran a version of the modern-T offense. Before the early 1930s, many ranked professional football on the same level as pro-wrestling. But in 1946, a string of events challenged segregation. The NFL team Cleveland Rams relocated to Los Angeles and, through some coaxing, signed former UCLA Bruins players Kenny Washington and Woody Strode. At nearly the same time, the Cleveland Browns of the All-American Football Conference (AAFC) signed Bill Willis and Marion Motley. Off the field, both cities had racial roadblocks for their citizens. Los Angeles County had seen a significant increase in antiblack restrictive housing covenants from 1920 up to 1946; in Cleveland, an interracial group launched a protest at Euclid Beach Park over the exclusionary policies that prevented black residents from using public facilities. That same summer, the nation saw a spike in lynching, including a quadruple lynching at Moore's Ford Bridge, Ga. Though these events mostly occurred independently and were spread throughout the country, Atwood succeeds in laying them out like a modern-day pro offense, powering the book's narrative with the march to the 1950 NFL championship between the two teams that integrated professional football. (Oct.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC