Assistant Professor of History Explores Issues of Race, Sports, and Protest

Dr. Johnny Smith is featured in an ESPN article about "The Reign of Lew Alcindor."

The piece by Johnny Smith, Shaw Assistant Professor in Sports, Society, and Technology, focuses on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s activism as a  college basketball player at UCLA and the debate among Black athletes’ proposed boycott of the 1968 Olympics.

Smith writes that, "fifty years ago he was the most dominant college basketball player America had ever seen. Between 1967 and 1969, he led UCLA to three consecutive national titles and an 88-2 record. Yet, his legacy transcends the game; in the age of Black Power, he redefined the political role of black college athletes. In 1968, when black collegians debated boycotting the Olympics, Lew Alcindor, as he was then still known, emerged as the most prominent face in the revolt on campus." 

Read the article on The Undefeated.