Story+ Project

Remote: Race, Racism, and the History of Duke Sports

(2022)

Story+ 2022 | Race, Racism, and the History of Duke Sports

Overview As part of a multi-year initiative to study Duke University’s racial history, this project will document path-breaking student athletes and coaches, revisit watershed sporting events, and seek to understand these key moments and individuals within the context of local, national, and international politics. The project will additionally examine the place of race and sports within powerful institutional debates over issues such as “merit” and black student admissions, campus activism, and the adoption of Title IX. Inasmuch as the project will narrate racial developments in Duke sports history, it will also use Duke sports history to shed new light on the racial landscape on campus and beyond.

Story+ Project This project will offer graduate and undergraduate students valuable opportunities to engage with Duke's racial histories, explore Duke archives, ask critical questions about civil rights at Duke, learn historical methods, and develop collaborative multi-modal scholarship. This team will meet remotely. The first week of the program will orient the students to the academic literature and debates in the fields that shape the project. We will read scholarship on the desegregation of higher education and examine topics such as the NAACP’s school litigation, the tensions between student desegregation and integration, and the rise of black student protests on college campuses. We will also explore major themes in the extant sports historiography. Students will spend weeks two through five conducting research and producing research outputs that will be incorporated (with credit to the students, of course) into a publication for Duke edited volume, a chapter in Duke’s institutional history book, and a podcast.

Skills for Undergraduates

  • Interest in Civil Rights, especially civil rights history at Duke
  • Interest in historical research
  • Openness to engaging complex questions of race and racism at Duke
  • Understanding, or eagerness to learn, about US history and issues race, gender, and class
  • Readiness to actively participate in critical and civil exchanges of scholarly ideas

Skills for Graduate Candidates

  • Interest in Civil Rights, especially civil rights history at Duke
  • Experience with historical research, especially archival
  • Openness to facilitating critical engagement with complex questions of race and racism at Duke
  • Understanding of US history and issues race, gender, and class
  • Readiness to actively participate in, and mentor, critical and civil exchanges of scholarly ideas

*Please note: funds are available for a graduate researcher to begin immediately, continuing through to the end of Story+

This Study+ project will be part of the Duke Institutional History project, supported by the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies.

Project Sponsor(s): 

H. Timothy Lovelace, Jr., Professor of Law, John Hope Franklin Research Scholar

Graduate Mentor(s): 

Hannah Borenstein, Ph.D. Candidate Cultural Anthropology

Undergraduates: 

Erin Blanding, Amira Axelle Miel, Daniel Bereket

Outcome: 

Throughout this summer three students focused on individual research projects that contribute to a larger effort to engage the history of Race, Racism, and the History of Duke Sports. The students focused on the intersections of the early years of integration in Duke Basketball, Football, and its overlaps with Title IX. In addition to doing digital archival work to document the gaps in the archives, students began conducting interviews with willing, able and alive members of Duke’s sporting history. Thematically, the students began to realize that there were gaps in the archives, and we used these gaps to explore broader historical and theoretical concerns about how archives are constructed and what they leave out. They found that when it came to sports coverage, there was a lot more information about white athletes available. Furthermore, when it came to Black women athletes in Duke’s history, there is a great deal of work to be done. The students hoped to lay a foundation for the future of research on the topic so that the next iteration of researches can start from where they left off.

Wallace Wade speaking with his team, circa 1970s. Source https://tobaccoroadblues.com/2011/09/09/the-history-corner-duke-stanford-1971-2/

Topic(s)

  • Duke Centennial
  • Race
  • Sports
  • Civil Rights
  • Education
  • History