Press/Journalists

Press Release
October 22, 2013

National Archives Hosts Breaking the Line: Sports as a Catalyst for Social Change, October 23

Former NFL players and sportswriter to join author for discussion

Washington, DC…On Wednesday, October 23, at 7:00 p.m., the National Archives will host a special program with Samuel G. Freedman, New York Times columnist and author of Breaking the Line: The Season in Black College Football that Transformed the Sport and Changed the Course of Civil Rights, former college and NFL players James Harris and R.C. Gamble, and Michael Hurd, sports writer and co-founder of the Black College Football Museum. The program is open to press coverage; please RSVP to: public.affairs@nara.gov.

The program, book signing and cocktail reception that follow are free and open to the public and will take place in the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC.
Attendees should use the Special Events Entrance, located at Constitution Ave. and 7th Street, NW.
The public program and reception are sponsored by the Foundation for the National Archives through the generous support of the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, Inc. and an anonymous donor.

About Breaking the Line: The Season in Black College Football that Transformed the Sport and Changed the Course of Civil Rights

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.

The event will be webcast live on the National Archives UStream channel [http://www.ustream.tv/usnationalarchives].

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For press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs Staff at 202-357-5300.

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