The Rise of the Black Quarterback: What It Means for America by Jason Reid

The Rise of the Black Quarterback by Jason Reid, sports history, 4.25 stars, 282 pages, 2022

As a football fan, I was so excited when Trish asked if I’d like to be part of this book tour. I’m a Buckeye and I think it goes without saying that attending Ohio State means that you are going to be bombarded with football in the fall. Now that I live in Cleveland the Bucks help make watching the Browns more bearable.

If you’re thinking you have to like football to like this book you’d be mostly right. This is a book about the start of the NFL and other professional football leagues as they got started in the early 1900s and about the black players, but you can’t tell that story without talking about that period of time. I found the first half of the book just as interesting historically as anything else. Reid does an exceptional job of painting a portrait of the men. I really felt like I knew these men who broke barriers, like Fritz Pollard.

Even though I’m not completely naive to the the history of racism in the US and how it still rears its ugly head, I was surprised to see the barriers put up for black quarterbacks, like a 13 year period when some unspoken rule kept them from the NFL. But even after this ‘ban’ lifted so many great black athletes were passed over and the ones who weren’t faced so much backlash from fans. Warren Moon, the only black quarterback in the NFL Hall of Fame, was booed by his own college fans for years, before leaving to play in the Canadian league. He had to win up there for 6 years before an NFL team was willing to bring him home. This was the early 1980s. And the hate mail and death threats around that time period for many of the men were still shocking to me and I’m an 80’s kid!

There’s so much more here, but I can’t tell all of the stories! I am so glad I read it. Reid did a skillful job of telling the stories of the past and tying them to the current day NFL and it’s crop of black quarterbacks. He brings it full circle. I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to Chicago Bears Justin Fields who is having a standout season after only two years removed from THE Ohio State University 🙂

“In September 2019, ESPN’s The Undefeated website (now Andscape) began a season-long series of articles on the emergence of Black quarterbacks in the NFL. The first article in the series was Jason Reid’s enormously popular, “Welcome to the Year of the Black Quarterback.” The series culminated with an hour-long television program in February 2020, hosted by Reid himself. The Rise of the Black Quarterback: What It Means for America will expand on Reid’s piece—as well as the entire series—and chronicle the shameful history of the treatment of Black players in the NFL and the breakout careers of a thrilling new generation of Black quarterbacks. Intimate portraits of Colin Kaepernick, Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, and Kyler Murray feature prominently in the book, as well as the careers and legacy of beloved NFL players such as Doug Williams and trailblazing pioneers Marlin Briscoe and Eldridge Dickey. Reid delves deeply into the culture war ignited by Kaepernick’s peaceful protest that shone a light on systemic oppression and police brutality. Fascinating and timely, this page-turning account will rivet fans of sports, cultural commentary, and Black history in America.” from Goodreads.

I want to thank TLC Book Tours for sending me the book!

This Week – Vampires, Michael Jackson and Very Tired Eyes

That’s my vampire and his friend Michael Jackson trick or treating on a beautiful Sunday night. As has happened the last three years, our street set up outside before the city trick or treating began to spoil the kids. Gage turned 12 a few weeks ago (So hard to believe. I’m still in denial) so I wonder how many more years we have left for this duo.

What I’ve read this week

I’ve been reading for Cybils judging, my first time being a first round judge, and it’s no joke! I’ve read 81 books in the last month or so, with 98 more to go this month. And I’m reading books with Gage for homeschool. No idea how long it will take for my eyes to recover, lol.

I posted about my favorite October reads here, but I’ll post about my Cybils reading after the judging is over.

On the screen

Jason and I watched Enola Holmes 2 on Netflix last night and it was fun to see the cast back on screen.

Plans for the week

I’m working at the midterms on Tuesday. Please be extra kind to your poll workers 🙂

October Favorites

I’ve been reading like a maniac for Cybils judging (I think I’ve read around 70 and I’m not even halfway done!) but I’m going to wait and talk about them after judging is done.

These are my 5 favorite reads in October that aren’t up for Cybils judging.

Hector: A Boy, a Protest, and the Photograph that Changed Apartheid by Adrienne Wright

This one packs a punch. I wasn’t familiar with Hector or his story. The way that this story was told in three different first person segments made it all the more powerful. This was perfectly told for the older elementary or even early middle school set. So much to discuss. I don’t want to spoil it, so I won’t give more details, but if you are talking about apartheid, this story of 12 year old Hector is a must read.

I Am You: A Book About Ubuntu by Moahloli and McDonald

This is a fabulous book for little kids about the beauty to be found in each other. I adored it. We we read this and compared the idea to other religious ideas. And it came full circle when we read the Mandela book and it talked about ubuntu, which means “I am, because you are.”

A Plan for the People: Nelson Mandela’s Hope for His Nation by McDivitt and Palmer

A great book that shows the amazing strength of this man as he brought about change for his people. We were lucky to have such a leader on the world stage. Intelligence, empathy, and courage are qualities too often lacking in leaders.

The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews

It’s the second book of the Belles of London series but is a standalone. To be honest, I wish there had been a bit more interaction between the four friends that we met in The Siren of Sussex, but that just means it works better for new readers to the series.

Julia has crippling anxiety in social situations and that’s a big problem since her huge dowry puts her on everyone’s radar. Enter Captain Blunt who has come to London to fetch a rich wife to support his estate and three illegitimate children. A mutual attraction is there from the beginning, but it takes a life-threatening situation to move things forward.

This is one of those sweet romances that features two decent people who are each to cheer for. There are mysteries and problems to unravel, but the goodness of the characters make this a comforting read. And the mysteries aren’t so hard to figure out early on, but waiting for Julia to learn the truth made it worth reading.

I first knew I’d like Julia when she took a book to a party and actually found time to read it! She was a mouse who became a lioness thanks in part to the man who first showed her love. While she was a quiet character Captain Blunt was full of mystery and seemingly bad choices so the two matched quite nicely.

Highly recommend for romance fans, especially ones who love historicals. I’m already looking forward to the next book in the series.

Alias Anna: A True Story of Outwitting the Nazis by Susan Hood

This 339 page middle school book told in free verse is fantastic. I mostly listened to the audio and it was great.

Zhanna and Frina are piano prodigies and live in Ukraine with their parents. One day the Nazis come and march them toward the killing fields. Both girls manage to escape at separate times but eventually find each other again. They change their names and birthdays in the hopes of hiding, but Zhanna’s piano genius couldn’t be denied.

Read the book. Watch these two Jewish girls stand in front of the Nazis night after night and survive.