Cameron Black

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College Athletes in a Trans-Atlantic Perspective: Rethinking Athletic Protest as Labor Protest at Marquette University
Department:
History
Term:
Summer 2019

From the mid-1960s to early 1970s, college athletic programs experienced a revolution from their black athletes that transformed how athletes were recruited, treated on campus, and compensated. These black athletes protested, and universities treated these athletes as laborers on strike, not students protesting unsuitable conditions. My dissertation project will analyze protests by college athletes in the context of both labor protests in colonial spaces and student protests in university spaces. Contemporary accounts lack a historical and transnational perspective and my dissertation uses these perspectives to reframe debates about “athletes as laborers.” Though laborers are, and should be categorized by their potential earning in their respective working situations, economic value is not the only way to determine if an athlete is considered a worker. I plan to integrate the protest at Marquette University, in which 14 black athletes protested a lack of representation among the university administration and coaching staff, into my larger dissertation project by comparing it to Jamaican H2 laborer protests from 1940-1980.