Gridiron Gauntlet: The Story of the Men Who Integrated Pro Football in Their Own Words

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Gridiron Gauntlet: The Story of the Men Who Integrated Pro Football in Their Own Words

Format:  Hardcover,

258 pages

Publisher: Natl Book Network

Publish Date: Oct 2009

ISBN-13: 9781589794429

ISBN-10: 1589794427

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Book Information

The following content was provided by the publisher.
One year before Jackie Robinson broke the color line in major league baseball in 1947, four black players joined the Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Rams to become the first professional football players of African-American descent in the modern era. While blacks had played on professional teams in the early days of pro football, none had joined a team since 1934. In this book twelve players who began their careers from 1946 to 1955 not only reminisce about the violence they faced on and off the field, the segregated hotels and restaurants, and general hostility that comes with being a trailblazer, but also of white players and coaches who assisted and supported them at various stages of their lives. Among the oral histories presented here are those of such Hall of Famers Bill Willis, Joe Perry, and George Taliaferro.


Publisher: Natl Book Network
Publish Date: Oct 2009
ISBN-13: 9781589794429
ISBN-10: 1589794427
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 258
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 1.17
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 6.3 x 1.0 x 9.0

Chapter outline

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
John Brownp. 11
Bob Mannp. 31
Joe Perryp. 51
Sherman Howardp. 69
George Taliaferrop. 89
Emerson Colep. 111
Charlie Powellp. 131
Eddie Maconp. 149
Harold Bradleyp. 169
Eddie Bellp. 187
Henry Fordp. 207
Bobby Watkinsp. 227
Indexp. 247


Review by Library Journal (2009-08-01)

Pro football was fully segregated from 1933 to 1945; the story of its integration is one of great significance-and not yet adequately addressed. Piascik (The Best Show in Football: The 1946-55 Cleveland Browns) interviewed a dozen black football players who played in the AAFC, the NFL, or the AFL between 1946 and 1961. The players ranged from Hall of Fame fullback Joe Perry and stars George Taliaferro and Bob Mann to lesser lights like Eddie Macon, Eddie Bell, Charlie Powell, and John Brown.

Of particular interest is Harold Bradley, a guard for the Browns and Eagles in the 1950s whose father, Harold Sr., played in the NFL in the 1920s before the color ban was enacted. The reminiscences cover the lives of these men both in and out of football. The stories they tell are humorous, disturbing, angry, sad, and uplifting. An involving and essential read for anyone interested in football.

-J. M.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book description

Piascik chronicles the lives of 12 second generation African Americans who graced the playing fields of professional football. The author presents each player's personal narrative which consists not only of his gridiron experiences but also of his upbringing, experiences in college and or the military and career after football. All the men profiled were born between 1920 and 1933, a period when segregation was the law in much of the land and the social reality almost everywhere.

During this period, the National Football League included teams from Akron and Canton, Redskins played in Boston and the Cardinals played in Chicago. Against this backdrop, Piascik presents a living history, taking an engaging, informative sojourn through a critical, sometimes forgotten, and often ignored part of the evolution of today's NFL. Well written and thoroughly researched this book will serve anyone interested in sports studies, sports history and sociology.

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