Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete

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Crown, Feb 10, 2010 - Sports & Recreation - 304 pages
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “An explosive and absorbing discussion of race, politics, and the history of American sports.”—Ebony
 
From Jackie Robinson to Muhammad Ali and Arthur Ashe, African American athletes have been at the center of modern culture, their on-the-field heroics admired and stratospheric earnings envied. But for all their money, fame, and achievement, says New York Times columnist William C. Rhoden, black athletes still find themselves on the periphery of true power in the multibillion-dollar industry their talent built.

Provocative and controversial, Rhoden’s $40 Million Slaves weaves a compelling narrative of black athletes in the United States, from the plantation to their beginnings in nineteenth-century boxing rings to the history-making accomplishments of notable figures such as Jesse Owens, Althea Gibson, and Willie Mays. Rhoden reveals that black athletes’ “evolution” has merely been a journey from literal plantationswhere sports were introduced as diversions to quell revolutionary stirringsto today’s figurative ones, in the form of collegiate and professional sports programs. He details the “conveyor belt” that brings kids from inner cities and small towns to big-time programs, where they’re cut off from their roots and exploited by team owners, sports agents, and the media. He also sets his sights on athletes like Michael Jordan, who he says have abdicated their responsibility to the community with an apathy that borders on treason.

The power black athletes have today is as limited as when masters forced their slaves to race and fight. The primary difference is, today’s shackles are invisible.

Praise for Forty Million Dollar Slaves
 
“A provocative, passionate, important, and disturbing book.”The New York Times Book Review
 
“Brilliant . . . a beautifully written, complex, and rich narrative.”Washington Post Book World
 
“A powerful call for more black athletes to give back to their communities.”Los Angeles Times
 

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slaves, athletes, sports

User Review  - Vannessagrace - Borders

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to write a review befitting this book and came up with nothing. For me, the best way for this book to be reviewed is quotes taken directly from the book ... Read full review

$40 MILLION SLAVES: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete

User Review  - Kirkus

New York Times sports columnist Rhoden explores the history of African-American athletes, decrying the unwillingness of modern players to take the courageous stands that characterized their ... Read full review

Contents

In trod uetlon
1
Chapter
7
The Dilemma of Myopia
127
The Dilemma ofllienation
197
aWon1an?
219
The Dilemma of the Double Burden
231
ll
247
35
254
Bibliography
277
63
284
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

William C. Rhoden has been a sportswriter for the New York Times since 1983, and has written the “Sports of the Times” column for more than a decade. He also serves as a consultant for ESPN’s SportsCentury series, and occasionally appears as a guest on their show The Sports Reporters. In 1996, Rhoden won a Peabody Award for Broadcasting as writer of the HBO documentary Journey of the African-American Athlete. A graduate of Morgan State University in Baltimore, he lives in New York City’s Harlem with his wife and daughter.

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