Breaking the Line by Samuel G. Freedman
The Season in Black College Football That Transformed the Sport and Changed the Course of Civil Rights

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With campuses and the nation in an uproar over civil rights, two legendary coaches prepared their teams for a football classic...Much more than just a sports book.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

1967. Two rival football teams. Two legendary coaches. Two talented quarterbacks. Together they broke the color line, revolutionized college sports, and transformed the NFL. Freedman’s dramatic account, highly praised as a contributing part of the movement and a riveting sports story, is now available in paperback.

In September 1967, after three years of landmark civil rights laws and three months of devastating urban riots, the football season began at Louisiana’s Grambling College and Florida A&M. The teams were led by two extraordinary coaches, Eddie Robinson and Jake Gaither, and they featured the best quarterbacks ever at each school, James Harris and Ken Riley.

Breaking the Line brings to life the historic saga of the battle for the 1967 black college championship, culminating in a riveting, excruciatingly close contest. Samuel G. Freedman traces the rise of these four leaders and their teammates as they storm through the season. Together they helped compel the segre­gated colleges of the South to integrate their teams and redefined who could play quarterback in the NFL, who could be a head coach, and who could run a franchise as general manager.

In Breaking the Line, Freedman brilliantly tells this suspenseful story of character and talent as he takes us from locker room to state capitol, from embattled campus to packed stadium. He captures a pivotal time in American sport and society, filling a missing and crucial chapter in the movement for civil rights.
 

About Samuel G. Freedman

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Samuel G. Freedman is a columnist for The New York Times and a professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He is the author of six acclaimed books, four of which have been New York Times Notable Books of the Year. Freedman also has written frequently for USA TODAY, New York magazine, Rolling Stone, The Jerusalem Post, Tablet, The Forward, and Salon.com. He lives in Manhattan with his fiance and his children.
 
Published August 13, 2013 by Simon & Schuster. 336 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Sports & Outdoors, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Breaking the Line
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Kirkus

Excellent
on Jun 17 2013

With campuses and the nation in an uproar over civil rights, two legendary coaches prepared their teams for a football classic...Much more than just a sports book.

Read Full Review of Breaking the Line: The Season... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Sports Book Review Center

Good
Reviewed by Budd Bailey on Aug 07 2013

The Sixties were interesting times in college football, and Samuel Freedman captures what was going on quite nicely here. The title may be an overstatement, but it's nice to have a refresher course on what was going on.

Read Full Review of Breaking the Line: The Season...

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