Black History Speaker Series features Amira Davis

Published: September 09, 2021

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The Department of History’s Black History Speaker Series will feature Amira Davis Wednesday, Sept. 15, at 4 p.m. at Pebble Hill. The talk will also be broadcast on Zoom. Davis will discuss "'Cinderella Girls': Black Women and the Long History of Sports, Politics, and Protest."

In her talk, Davis will examine the latest wave of athletic activism by centering on Black women athletes and interrogating the meanings and motivations of their protests. From track stars in the 1950s to WNBA players today, Black women athletes have a long history of athletic activism. A history that is often overlooked or overshadowed by that of their male counterparts. This talk will discuss the ways Black women athletes have been hypervisible but also oft-ignored symbols of political struggles on and off the playing field. Their (in)visibility has both constrained and expanded the possibilities of their protest. Black women’s athletic activism, both past and present, offers new ways of understanding the intersection of sports, protests and politics.

Amira Rose Davis is an Assistant Professor of History and African American Studies at Penn State University where she specializes in 20th Century American History with an emphasis on race, gender, sports and politics. She is currently the 2021-2022 Harrington Faculty Fellow at the University of Texas-Austin where she is finishing her first book, “’Can’t Eat a Medal’: The Lives and Labors of Black Women Athletes in the Age of Jim Crow”. Her work has appeared in scholarly journals including the Radical History Review, Journal of African American History, and Modern American History as well as popular outlets such as The Washington Post and Slate. Recently named a Mellon Emerging Faculty Leader by the Institute for Citizens and Scholars, Davis also provides sports commentary for public venues such as NPR, ESPN and BBC and serves on the advisory board of the Jackie Robinson Museum and the Arthur Ashe Legacy Foundation. Davis, the co-host of the Feminist sports podcast, Burn it All Down on the Bluewire podcast network.

The program is sponsored by the Department of History, Women and Gender Studies Program, Africana Studies Program, the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities in the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Education.

The Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities at Pebble Hill is located at 101 S. Debardeleben Street in Auburn. To watch the program via Zoom, visit here to register.

Submitted by: Maiben Beard