The Revolt of the Black Athlete

50th Anniversary Edition

Author: Harry Edwards
With a new introduction and afterword
The Fiftieth Anniversary edition of the pioneering study of sport and struggle
Cloth – $29.95
Paper – $19.95
eBook – $14.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 09/03/2018
Cloth: 05/22/2017
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About the Book

In 1968, The Revolt of the Black Athlete hit sport and society like an Ali combination. This Fiftieth Anniversary edition of Harry Edwards's classic of activist scholarship offers a new introduction and afterword that revisits the revolts by athletes like Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tommie Smith, and John Carlos. At the same time, Edwards engages with the struggles of a present still rife with racism, double standards, and economic injustice. Again relating the rebellion of black athletes to a larger spirit of revolt among black citizens, Edwards moves his story forward to our era of protests, boycotts, and the dramatic politicization of athletes by Black Lives Matter.

Incisive yet ultimately hopeful, The Revolt of the Black Athlete is the still-essential study of the conflicts at the interface of sport, race, and society.

About the Author

Harry Edwards is a professor emeritus of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley; founder of the San Jose State University Institute for the Study of Sport, Society, and Social Change; and a 2018 inductee into the Academic All-America Hall of Fame. He was the scholar-activist architect of the 1968 Olympic Project for Human Rights and for more than half-a-century he has been regarded as the leading authority on developments at the interface of sport, race, and society in America. His other books include his pioneering work The Sociology of Sport and The Struggle that Must Be: An Autobiography..


"A useful addition to any syllabus for students of American politics or of journalism and in particular sports journalism."--Irish Independent

"Edward's essential position in the movement, his memory of the events, and his ability to connect them to present-day activism make this book a must-read."--Journal of Sport History

"If there's a book that synthesizes and gives historical context to the wave of social activism that's swept through modern sports, it's this one. . . .Through Edwards' eyes, we see the awakening of black athletes to their own power not as a surprise but as an inevitability." --The Undefeated

"The book remains highly relevant to the current climate of athletic activism and stands out as an important piece of sport history as well as a road map for critical discussions of sport."

"What The Revolt of the Black Athlete is about, at its heart, is organizing: the slow, laborious, never-complete process of working to constitute a collectivity that can seek to contest and overthrow the conditions of its subjection." --Los Angeles Review of Books


"The legendary Harry Edwards illuminates this edition with a deeply probing and personal half-century of perspectives, reflections, and wisdom. Edwards must have written this masterpiece with the assistance of a crystal ball. A generation later, it remains relevant to the current climate of athletic activism, and cannot be read without profit."--Al-Tony Gilmore, Historian and Archivist Emeritus, National Education Association

"A must read for all scholars, activists, athletes, and sport enthusiasts. . . . Edwards commandingly expresses how the collective voices and unified actions of Black athletes can evoke institutional change. The Revolt of the Black Athlete uncovers the axiom by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that, 'a threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,' even at institutions of higher education."--Billy D. Hawkins, author of The New Plantation: Black Athletes, College Sports, and Predominantly White NCAA Institutions

"When whites respond to black protests with anger and resentment, unable to see the experiences of those who don’t enjoy white privilege, that indicates that we have a lot of work yet to do. The re-printing of The Revolt of the Black Athlete comes at a perfect time to help us do that work and Dr. Edwards gives us an amazing example of someone who has spent his life not just talking the talk, but walking the walk."--Theresa Walton-Fisette, President of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport

"There could not be a more timely moment in history to offer a new release of this classic. This was the work, by the man, that was the most influential in leading me to do the work that I do. No other work, particularly at the time of publication, ventured to either explain or provide guidance to the athlete and society on the black athlete. La plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. The name changes and subtle progress over 50 years are admitted differences, but this work remains indispensable for us all."--Kenneth L. Shropshire, author of In Black and White: Race and Sports in America"Edwards provides a unique insight and a compelling depiction of the critical race issues that generally had been ignored. This classic provocative and seminal book contributes significantly in addressing current issues facing the Black Athlete. A classic read!"--Fritz G. Polite, author of Sport, Race, Activism, and Social Change: The Impact of Dr. Harry Edwards' Scholarship and Service

"The reissue of Harry Edwards's groundbreaking The Revolt of the Black Athlete is right on time. Relevant as ever, necessary reading for all, it remains a classic, a game-changer, and a roadmap for critical discussions of sport. It is a clarion call for those that straddle the difficult line between sports fan and freedom dreamer."--David J. Leonard, author of After Artest: The NBA and the Assault on Blackness