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Publisher's Summary

From Jackie Robinson to Muhammad Ali and Arthur Ashe, African American athletes have been at the center of modern culture, their on-the-field heroics admired and stratospheric earnings envied. But for all their money, fame, and achievement, says former New York Times columnist William C. Rhoden, black athletes still find themselves on the periphery of true power in the multibillion-dollar industry their talent built.
Provocative and controversial, Rhoden's Forty Million Dollar Slaves weaves a compelling narrative of black athletes in the United States, from the plantation to their beginnings in 19th-century boxing rings and at the first Kentucky Derby to the history-making accomplishments of notable figures such as Jesse Owens, Althea Gibson, and Willie Mays.
Rhoden makes the cogent argument that black athletes' "evolution" has merely been a journey from literal plantations to today's figurative ones, in the form of collegiate and professional sports programs. Drawing from his decades as a sportswriter, Rhoden contends that black athletes' exercise of true power is as limited today as when masters forced their slaves to race and fight.
Sweeping and meticulously detailed, Forty Million Dollar Slaves is an eye-opening exploration of a metaphor we only thought we knew.
©2006 William C. Rhoden (P)2017 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"Rhoden's writing is intelligent and cogent...this is an insightful look at the role of blacks in sports they dominate but hardly control." ( Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Craig L Brown on 06-21-18

Awesome!!!!!

Truly makes you you appreciate those that have come before and paved the way. You will definitely learn something whether you are in sports or not.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Timothy Woods on 06-17-18

A Must Read for Every Aspiring Athletes, Entrepreneur or Business Professional

I learned about this book during a recent “Meeting of The Minds” panel discussion hosted by Catalyst Foundation. The discussion was between Thomas A. Moorehead, an African American Automotive Dealership Giant and R. Donahue Peebles a wold leader of Commercial Real Estate.

The stories they conveyed about their lives echoed many of the themes the brilliant authors of this book covered. The importance of owning the means of production being as important as being the on the field talent. True power comes from ownership and the foresight to create a legacy and have a sense of community. The story of the black jockeys and the Negro Baseball League’s demise is relevant today and transferable to many professions.

I am so glad that R. Donahue Peebles II recommended this book. It reinforced my commitment, values and responsibility to own, lead give back and help others succeed. Thank you Mr. Rhoden for this outstanding book. I will repay your labor!

Timothy Woods

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