Race and Football: National Framework for Oregon Stories

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Presented by Dr. Michael Oriard and Mr. Herman Brame

The histories of race and sports are intimately connected in the United States, as many of the assertions that underlay historic systems of racial oppression were predicated on beliefs regarding inherent, physical, and mental differences among groups of people. Individual athletes, teams, coaches, and the media all worked to both support and tear down those systems, changing attitudes and opportunities along the way. One integrated Oregon football team made national news during the 1920s, and like the rest of the nation, the relationship between race and football in our state has always been complex and instructive. This program will offer history from both the national and state perspective and will invite participants to ask questions about the past and engage one another in conversation about the relationship between race and football that continues today.

Dr. Michael Oriard will give a presentation that offers national perspective on the history of race in relation to football. Oriard is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of American Literature and Culture, Oregon State University; former NFL player; and author of several books on sports, including King Football: Sport and Spectacle in the Golden Age of Radio and Newsreels, Movies and Magazines, the Weekly and the Daily Press. Mr. Herman Brame will follow that presentation with a slideshow and discussion regarding the long history of African American football players in Oregon. Brame is an independent researcher and the author of Forgotten Ducks: The Story of Robinson and Williams. Discussion with the audience will follow. This program is presented in partnership with the Office of the Dean of Students and the Office of Student-Athlete Development.