Racism in the Sports Pages Essay

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September 1, 1955: The African-American Absence

The 1950's saw the birth of rock and roll and the explosion of television sitcoms. The decade was also marked by the influx of African-American athletes into the sporting world following Jackie Robinson's debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. However, one would not realize the significance of African-Americans in athletics by reading sports pages during the 1950's. The athletic achievements of African-Americans were often doomed to the latter pages of sports sections in favor of advertisements and routine sports articles. The San Francisco Chronicle is guilty of hiding the impact of African-Americans in sports, reflecting a lack of racial tolerance.

It can be said that
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The school missed the boat the first time around, as Jackie Robinson, himself, lettered in football for the Bruins. He was a star on the team as a running back and from all reports was a man of great character, yet was passed over when it came time to elect the captain of the team.

Hardiman Cureton, a decade later, had more luck than Robinson. He must have been ecstatic to be elected captain. However, to be called a "Negro" in the headline of an article written about an honor bestowed upon him must have felt like a slap in the face. Or maybe it didn't. Maybe he expected to be called a "Negro" because it was commonplace in 1950's American society. The San Francisco Chronicle certainly portrayed it as such.

The fact that this article even needed to be written says a lot about American society as a whole. Nowadays, it is fairly uncommon to find a college football team without a black captain. Back in 1955, the naming of a black captain was news. Maybe it was not news that people had an interest in reading, as evidenced by the article's short length and less than ideal page placement. If it truly meant a great amount to the readers or writers of the San Francisco Chronicle, the sports editor probably would have placed it on the front page of his section. Although this story might not have been deemed front-page material like articles on
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