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NYT Sports Columnist William C. Rhoden to Speak at Moravian

Award-winning writer to discuss race and sports in America

Bethlehem, Pa., January 31, 2007—William C. Rhoden, sports columnist, television and radio commentator, and author will be discussing his book Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete (Crown, 2006) and other issues pertaining to race and sport in America in a lecture at Moravian College on Wednesday, February 7, at 7:30 p.m. in Prosser Auditorium, Haupert Union Building. Admission is free and the public is welcome.

From Jackie Robinson to Muhammad Ali and Arthur Ashe, African American athletes have been at the center of modern culture—their on-the-field heroics admired and stratospheric earnings envied. “But for all their money, fame, and achievement, black athletes still find themselves on the periphery of true power in the multibillion-dollar industry their talent built.” says New York Times columnist William C. Rhoden.

Rhoden’s provocative and controversial book weaves a compelling narrative of black athletes in the United States, from the plantation to their beginnings in nineteenth-century boxing rings and at the first Kentucky Derby to the history-making accomplishments of notable figures such as Jesse Owens, Althea Gibson, and Willie Mays. Rhoden makes the cogent argument that black athletes’ “evolution” has merely been a journey from literal plantations—where sports were introduced as diversions to quell revolutionary stirrings—to today’s figurative ones, in the form of collegiate and professional sports programs.

Rhoden has been writing about sports for The New York Times since March 1983. He has written the “Sports of the Time” column for more than a decade.  Previously, he was a copy editor in the Sunday Week in Review section since October 1981 when he joined the newspaper. Before joining The Times, Rhoden spent more than three years with The Baltimore Sun as a columnist. Before that, he was associate editor of Ebony magazine from 1974 to 1978. He is a graduate of Morgan State University in Baltimore and while there acted as assistant sports information director.

Rhoden, who won a Peabody Award for Broadcasting as writer of the HBO documentary Journey of the African-American Athlete in 1996, also served as a consultant for ESPN's SportsCentury series, and occasionally appears as a guest on their show “The Sports Reporters.”

This event is being jointly sponsored by the following Moravian College Departments and Organizations: Arts & Lectures, The LVIAC Africana Studies Consortium, The Athletic Department, The Leadership Department, The Office of Institutional Diversity, and the Department of Sociology. For more information, contact Joel Nathan Rosen at jrosen@moravian.edu or call 610 625-7814.

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America’s sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.