Buy New
  • List Price: $30.00
  • Save: $3.00 (10%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by
Gift-wrap available.
Trade in your item
Get a $4.92
Gift Card.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Benching Jim Crow: The Rise and Fall of the Color Line in Southern College Sports, 1890-1980 (Sport and Society) Paperback – August 2, 2010

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$23.97 $15.75

Frequently Bought Together

Benching Jim Crow: The Rise and Fall of the Color Line in Southern College Sports, 1890-1980 (Sport and Society) + The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
Price for both: $35.40

Buy the selected items together
  • The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test $8.40


Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at

Product Details

  • Series: Sport and Society
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; 1st Edition edition (August 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252077504
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252077500
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #739,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews



"An impressive achievement, one of the most useful titles recently published on the history of race and sport."--The Journal of American History
"[Martin] provides moving descriptions of individual athletes who braved open hostility and threats of violence and of the coaches who insisted that the teams be integrated.  And he is masterful in weaving all this material into the broader social history of the South.  The result is an impressive, profound piece of scholarship.  Essential."--Choice


"Should be a standard text in sport history classes for many years."--Southwestern Historical Quarterly
"Martin has written this valuable history -- the first of its kind -- documenting the process of integrating the playing fields of Southern universities and colleges.  It's an important book."--El Paso Times


"A well written historical analysis of the development of sport institutions at all-white colleges and universities in the South. . . . Thought provoking, and accessible."--The Journal of African American History

"Given the perennial pertinence of racial issues in the United States, the attachment to intercollegiate athletics in the South, and the presence of African-American athletes, this subject begs for attention. Charles H. Martin is well-versed in college sports and academic archives, and the scope and depth of his research is astounding."--William J. Baker, author of Jesse Owens: An American Life

"Historians, sports scholars, and students will refer to Benching Jim Crow for many years to come as the standard source on the integration of intercollegiate sport."--Mark S. Dyreson, author of Making the American Team: Sport, Culture, and the Olympic Experience and Crafting Patriotism: America at the Olympic Games

"Benching Jim Crow is a powerful indictment of a racist system, much of which has been dismantled by law, social pressure, and the belated recognition by southern coaches and athletic directors that recruiting white athletes exclusively would doom their universities to teams that might aspire to mediocrity on their most optimistic days."--Bill Littlefield, Only a Game

Book Description

Since the late nineteenth century, college athletics have mattered enormously to southern white males, whether they were students, alumni, or sports fans who never set foot inside a college classroom. Football especially came to inspire passions and state pride. Colleges and universities in the South sought to prove that they were the equal of teams anywhere in the country, but equality was strictly limited. While Southern football and basketball teams aspired to national fame, the South was enforcing ever stricter segregation. Black players, no matter how talented, could not play. When teams from other parts of the country allowed blacks to play, Southern teams refused to play them or required them to bench their black players for their games, or when confronted by campus resistance after World War II, refused to play them at home.

Examining the history of college football and basketball during the Jim Crow era, this volume shows how racial discrimination was enforced in the South and how teams in the North were long compliant with it. Martin reveals how dozens of northern universities themselves excluded black players from their own teams well into the 1940s. He then traces the long, slow change that led to integrated competition, the recruitment of black players, and the hiring of black coaches. Changes came from several sides and did not come easily. One incentive for change turned out to be athletic competition: when teams from smaller schools with black players began to defeat all-white teams from the South
With special attention to the Southeastern Conference, the Atlantic Coast Conference, and teams in Texas, Martin shows the gradual disappearance of Jim Crow segregation in the colleges of the South. More than a study of how segregation affected college football and basketball, it shows how college sports helped bring down Jim Crow.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See both customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Larry Rochelle on April 26, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Charles H. Martin has written a much needed explanation of how intercollegiate sports programs finally accepted black athletes as part of college games. If you like the Jackie Robinson story in the film "42", you will be enlightened by BENCHING JIM CROW. Jim Crow laws in the South prohibited blacks from "social" occasions such as dances, games and schools that mixed the races.

1. The South insisted that northern teams leave black players at home when visiting the South to play games.
2. A "good Negro" was a black player who did not complain about being dropped from a game just to suit southern racists.
3. Southern "culture" was to be respected by the North, even though that culture was full of hate and racism.
4. Northern universities were also very slow in finding places for blacks on their teams.
5. Black athletes in the South could not eat or sleep with their white teammates.
6. Blacks could not play basketball in the South because their sweat would touch white players and because more of their bodies were exposed by abbreviated uniforms.
7. Southern racists feared that black players would increase the rate of "mixed marriages."
8. Southern universities finally allowed black participation when their teams could gain more fame and fortune if they could play against good intersectional teams from the North.
9. The football bowl games earned big bucks for colleges, so these bowl games included more and more teams who had black football players.
10. Southern colleges used the term "Gentlemen's Agreement" to describe the North's willingness to drop black players off their teams when playing southern schools.
11. Boston College and the University of Virginia were especially willing to ignore racism.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brenda K. Haberle on September 13, 2014
Format: Paperback
Fast delivery, happy with sale...thanks!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images