My Brother's Keeper: Two Generations of Black Duke Football Players

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The NCAA is a multi-billion dollar industry built on the athletic labor of African American males at predominantly white institutions. This thesis explores Black collective identity through the 1st cohort of African American football players and contemporary football players at Duke University. Utilizing interviews and archival material for the historical aspect, in conjunction with participant-observation for the present time, I look to understand the importance of kin-like bonds for Black male athletes, regardless of the era, in navigating a largely white hegemonic space. I integrate numerous theories such as Marx’s commodity fetishism, identity foreclosure, and fictive kinship to give a thorough analysis of ways in which Black Duke football players face exploitation and prejudice inside of the athletic and academic sphere on campus. My research argues that brotherhood among Black football players held more significance forty-two years ago than it does today. As modern capitalism has restructured the experiences of Black male athletes at big-time sports universities, more attention must be directed to developing and supporting modern Black athletes.



Thesis document replaced with an edited copy at the request of the author on 2 May 2019.



Staggers, Michelle (2019). My Brother's Keeper: Two Generations of Black Duke Football Players. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from

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