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Beyond Tokenism to Empowerment: The Black Women in Sports Foundation



Beyond Tokenism to Empowerment: The Black Women in Sports Foundation




There is relatively little written about the role of black women in sport. A short book entitled Black Women in Sport, authored by Tina Sloan-Green, Carole Oglesby, Alpha Alexander, and Nikki Frank
(Green, Oglesby, Alexander, & Frank, 1981) discussed the myths surrounding the participation of black women in sport, as well as the double prejudice—race and gender—that has historically limited the participation of black women in sport (Oglesby, 1981). In the past, the public has been aware of only a few highly visible athletes such as Wilma Rudolph
(Women in History, n.d.) and Althea Gibson (Gray & Lamb, 2004). However, invisibility was partially ameliorated when Alpha Alexander conducted a study to answer questions about black women participation in intercollegiate athletics that showed very small numbers of minority women participating in intercollegiate sport as athletes, administrators, and coaches (Alexander, 1978).

Although incorporation of the Black Women in Sport Foundation (BWSF) occurred in 1992, the genesis of the Black Women in Sport Conference can be traced to 1974, when Temple University hired Tina Sloan-Green to teach physical education and coach women’s varsity lacrosse, field hockey, and badminton. Title IX (1972) prohibited sex discrimination in education programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance. Under pressure to add high-quality coaches for women’s teams, Temple hired Sloan-Green. This chapter recounts the struggle of Sloane-Green and Greene, along with a network of remarkable friends gathered over more than 30 years, on behalf of African American women in sport. The BWSF was established to eliminate that invisibility and tokenism. Its purpose is to facilitate and advance the number of black women in every aspect of sport, including power positions, and to realize achievements, specifically in intercollegiate sports.

Bibliographic Citation

Linda S. Greene & Tina Sloan-Green, Beyond Tokenism to Empowerment: The Black Women in Sports Foundation, in Diversity and Social Justice in College Sports: Sport Management and the Student Athlete 313 (Dana D Brooks & Ronald C Althouse eds., 2007).




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