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Passing the BatonBlack Women Track Stars and American Identity$
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Cat M. Ariail

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780252043482

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252043482.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 02 July 2022



(p.1) Introduction
(p.iii) Passing the Baton

Cat M. Ariail

University of Illinois Press

This introductory chapter considers the symbolic significance of the baton pass in a track and field relay, using this moment of possibility and precarity to encapsulate the experiences and influence of black women track athletes in the postwar United States. Despite the perpetual precarity of the marginalized sport of women’s track and field, young black women who competed in the sport navigated barriers of race and gender to find possibilities. As they repeatedly represented the United States in international sporting events, they would contest, challenge, and confirm the racial and gender conceptions of American identity. On and off the track, young black women track and field athletes were active agents in the remaking of Americanness.

Keywords:   women athletes, track and field, American identity, race, gender

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