Abstract

Abstract:

During the 1970s, the Black Panther Party believed in and provided sports programming that spoke to community embodiment. The Party's approach aligned with what Jack and Micki Scott called "the sports liberation movement." Though understudied in sports history, the Scotts endeavored to create a revolution motivated by the 1968 Olympics. They controversially wrote about and taught sports in a way that prioritized the needs and well-being of professional athletes and everyday people, rather than US patriotism and capitalism consumption. Influenced by fellow leftists like the Scotts, the Black Panthers circulated ideas on freedom and free movement, drawing inspiration from international role models in non-European, socialist countries too. They imagined that socialist sports could escape the militarization of sport in the US and find space for gender inclusion. Their interpretation of socialism showed up in both philosophy and pedagogy, on and off the mat. Using sports archives from the Party as well as broader newspaper research, I contend in this essay that the Panthers, representative of the larger Black Power movement, politicized sport as a necessary site to revolutionize the everyday person's life.

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