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Third annual conversation on business, race and sports to feature sociologist Harry Edwards

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

LAWRENCE – The University of Kansas School of Business, the Langston Hughes Center and Kansas Athletics will present “The Power of Sport: A Conversation on Business, Race and Sports” at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, in the Kansas Union Ballroom.

The third annual event will feature a keynote address from Harry Edwards, sports sociologist and professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as a panel discussion with former KU student-athletes. 

Shawn Alexander, associate professor and graduate director of African & African-American studies and director of the Langston Hughes Center, said the popularity of sports can lead to conversations about important issues in the community, country and world.

“Sport is a microcosm of society that allows us to talk about many issues, including corporate power, race, gender, homophobia, urban planning, health and labor,” Alexander said. “For the past two years, KU has been at the forefront of this discussion with its annual symposium, and we look forward to continuing in a leadership role with this year’s spectacular event.”

Edwards’ experiences as an athlete and his sociology training led him to focus on the issue of race in sports. He advocated a black athlete boycott of the 1968 Olympics and later consulted on diversity issues for the MLB, NBA and NFL. Edwards was a professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1970 to 2000 and has written numerous articles and four books.

“The Power of Sport” panel will include former KU basketball and WNBA player Tamecka Dixon and KU track athlete and Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills. Alexander will serve as the moderator.

Past events featured keynote addresses from The Nation’s sports editor and author Dave Zirin and The New York Times sports columnist and author William Rhoden.

This year’s co-sponsors include the Office of the Provost, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the K Club, the KU Alumni Association and the KU departments of African & African-American Studies; Health, Sport and Exercise Sciences; Sociology; and Political Science.

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required to attend. Donations benefiting the Langston Hughes Center will be accepted.