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Sports and African American Women : The Achievements of The Women Despite Facing All Odds

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The following paper tells us about the African American women and their sports activities. We observe that in spite of the various disparities and obstacles, they have overcome everything to achieve the highest success in their particular field.


The African American women have participated in all sports events from many years. Some of the eminent sports women are Alice Coachman, Serena Williams, Venus Williams etc. The first track team for women was started in Tuskegee University in the year 1929.In 1932, Louise Stokes and Tidye Pickett were selected for the Olympics, but due to racism were denied from participating. However, later they played for their country in Berlin (Editors, History.com 2018, n.pag). Alice Coachman was the first African American woman athlete to win a gold at the Olympics for high jump. She would have brought in a few more medals if the Olympics was not cancelled due to the second World War. The sister pair team of Serena and Venus Williams won the doubles gold medal in the 2000 Olympic games held in Sydney and again in 2008.Similarly many players like Ora Washington in tennis, Jackie Robinson in baseball and many others achieved success in their respective games. The purpose of writing this paper is to depict as to how the African American could bring forth achievements in the games that they played despite the discrimination shown towards them. The racist attitudes of the government, the other players as well as from the other countries and lack of access to proper training were all hurdles to their achievements (Editors, History.com 2018, n.pag).

History of African American women in Sports:

The African American women had to endure racist attitudes and gender bias in whatever sports activity they participated in.1900 was the year in which they were not allowed to participate in any sports events and were shown disparities. This was as well the time when clubs were established to give them access to training opportunities. One such club was the Smart Set Club which was set up in 1905 in New York to provide training in basketball and track events. The American Tennis Association was instrumental in conducting tournaments in which players like Ora Washington, Anita Gantt etc. excelled in their games. Althea Gibson won the Wimbledon and became the first woman to gain entry to the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association. In the game of basketball, the Chicago Romas and the Philadelphia Tribune teams consisting of only the female African Americans became famous after World War I. Lusia Harris was an Olympian and the first one to be drafted by the NBA team. In track events as well, the women made many achievements as they played with the Amateur Athletic Union club (Abney,1999, p.35-38).

Need for African American girls to participate in sports:

It is important for girls to participate in sports in the African American community to reap the benefits of good health, opportunities for scholastic improvement and monetary benefits. The occurrence of cancer, diseases of the liver, heart and kidney and decrease in bone density can all be prevented if they indulge in some kind of sports activity. They as well become more responsible and their quality of life improves as they do not have the time to fall into bad habits. Obesity was found to be reduced in girls who played sports. However, the lack of proper facilities like parks, training grounds etc. for the African American girls was an impending factor for playing games. Physical activity in sports gives self-confidence, better grades in studies and hence scholarships to study further. This raises their employment standards and they are able to obtain higher paid jobs (Graves,2015, p.1-7). South Africa had passed the Brighton Declaration twenty-three years ago so as to raise the level of participation of women in sports. ‘A National Strategy for Women and Sport’ was set up for training the women to take part in the Olympics. Laws have been passed for granting fair chances to women in sports. The Sports Federation as well has been giving financial aid to those players who show chances of getting a medal for the country (Sikes,et.al,2017 n.pag).

Lack of Media Coverage:

The media has been neglecting the coverage of sporting events

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