Author, educator and social activist Harry Edwards will visit Radford University on Wednesday, March 6, to speak about the interplay between race and athletics.
The lecture, titled "Race and Sport in America: a Legacy of Promise, Contradiction and Collapsing Opportunity," will be presented by the Office of the Provost, the Philosophy and Religious Studies Club and the Sociology Club.
"For decades, Dr. Edwards has written about exploitation of black athletes by college athletic programs," said Carter Turner, associate professor of religious studies at RU and an organizer of the event. "The possible exploitation of athletes is part of a larger conversation about the mission of universities and the role of big-time college athletics."
An open discussion will follow Edwards' free public lecture, which will be at 7 p.m. in Bondurant Auditorium. His appearance on campus is one in a series of forums on the relationship between academics and athletics, Turner said. At a session planned for April 2, the RU faculty will revisit the issue with special consideration of the recent Penn State scandal.
"Our hope is that Dr. Edwards’ talk and April’s forum will help generate an honest assessment of Radford’s athletic and academic relationship and help RU avoid the pitfalls that many universities experience," Turner said.
Edwards, who holds degrees from San Jose State University and Cornell University, came to public attention in 1968 when he advocated a boycott of the 1968 Olympics by black athletes. He taught sociology at the University of California-Berkeley from 1970 to 2000 and worked as a consultant on diversity issues for the National Football League, the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball. He has written four books and numerous articles on the topics of sport, sociology and race.