Join us May 31st for a discussion of Dave Zirin's newest book JIM BROWN: LAST MAN STANDING. He will be joined by author and NU professor Martha Biondi. A unique biography of Jim Brown--football legend, Hollywood star, and controversial activist. The author spent considerable time with his subject, speaking with him at length about his life and career.
Jim Brown is recognized as perhaps the greatest football player to ever live. But his phenomenal nine-year career with the Cleveland Browns is only part of his remarkable story, the opening salvo to a much more sprawling epic. Brown parlayed his athletic fame into stardom in Hollywood, where it was thought that he could become "the black John Wayne." He was an outspoken Black Power icon in the 1960s, and he formed Black Economic Unions to challenge racism in the business world. For this and for his decades of work as a truce negotiator with street gangs, Brown--along with such figures as Muhammad Ali, Bill Russell, and Billie Jean King--is revered as a socially conscious athlete.
On the most hypermasculine cultural canvases of the United States--NFL football, the Black Power movement, Hollywood's blaxploitation films, gang intervention both inside and outside prison walls--Jim Brown has made his mark. Yet in the landscape of the most toxic expression of "what makes a man"--numerous accusations of violence against women--he has left a jagged mark as well.
Dave Zirin's book redefines an American icon, and not always in a flattering light. At eighty-one years old, Brown continues to speak out and look for fights. His recent public support of Donald Trump and criticism of Colin Kaepernick are just the latest examples of someone who seems restless if he is not in conflict. Jim Brown is a raw and thrilling account of Brown's remarkable life and a must-read for sports fans and students of the black freedom struggle.
Named one of the "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Our World" by The Utne Reader, Dave Zirin is the author of ten books on the intersection of sports and politics.. He also writes about this subject for the Nation magazine, their first sports writer in 150 years of existence. Zirin is also the host of the "Edge of Sports Podcast," and "The Collision with Etan Thomas and Dave Zirin" on WPFW in Washington DC.
Martha Biondi (Ph.D., Columbia University, 1997) is a member of the Department of African American Studies with a courtesy joint appointment in the History Department. She specializes in twentieth century African American History and is the author of To Stand and Fight: the Struggle for Civil Rights in Postwar New York City published by Harvard University Press, which awarded it the Thomas J. Wilson Prize as best first book of the year. In 2012, the University of California Press published her book, The Black Revolution on Campus, an account of the nationwide Black student movement of the late 1960s and early Black Studies movement of the 1970s. She is currently researching a book on neoliberalism, violence and Black life, focusing on Chicago since the 1980s.