Theresa Runstedtler/Jack Johnson, Rebel Sojourner & David Leonard/After Arrest :The NBA and the Assault on Blackness
Start: 6:00 pm
Jack Johnson, Rebel Sojourner "Theresa Runstedtler traces Jack Johnson's fabulous, furious, iconic life across five continents and through four paradigms (race, masculinity, imperialism, and popular culture), setting a formidably high bar in the emerging genre of transnational biography. "Jack Johnson: Rebel Sojourner" is a groundbreaking achievement."--David Levering Lewis, author of "W. E. B. Du Bois, 1868-1919: Biography of a Race" "This is a brilliantly researched and original study of the transnational career of the black American boxer Jack Johnson. In lucid and engaging prose, Theresa Runstedtler traces Johnson's travels across multiple continents, showing how Johnson's life serves as a cultural compass for the intersecting worlds of American, British, and French empire and ideas of race at the turn of the last century. This marvelous contribution to the burgeoning literature on the popular culture of imperialism and transnationalism will find a wide and appreciative audience among scholars of empire, American history, and African American studies."--Kevin Gaines, author of "American Africans in Ghana: Black Expatriates in the Civil Rights Era." After Arrest :The NBA and the Assault on Blackness On November 19, 2004, a fight between NBA players Ron Artest and Ben Wallace escalated into a melee involving several other players and many fans. The “Palace Brawl,” writes David J. Leonard, was a seminal event, one that dramatically altered outside perceptions of the sport. With commentators decrying the hip hop or gangsta culture of players, the blackness of the NBA was both highlighted and disdained. This was a harsh blow to the league’s narrative of colorblindness long cultivated by Commissioner David Stern and powerfully embodied in the beloved figure of Michael Jordan. As Leonard demonstrates, the league viewed this moment as a threat needing intervention, quickly adopting policies to govern black players and prevent them from embracing styles and personas associated with blackness. This fascinating book discloses connections between the NBA’s discourse and the broader discourse of antiblack racism. Particular policy changes that seemed aimed at black players, such as the NBA dress code and the debate over a minimum age requirement, are explored.