The enactment of Title IX in 1972 is heralded as one of the most important events for women in sport. Yet it occurred less than a decade after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Did Title IX equally effect all women? What effects did it have for Black women in sport at that time? This research sought to gain an understanding of the experiences of Black female athletes who competed in sports during the Title IX era. The theoretical perspectives that serve as the foundation for my analysis are sociologist Patricia Hill Collins’ work on Black feminist thought, legal theorist Kimberlé Crenshaw’s work on intersectionality, and anthropologist Irma McClaurin’s work on Black feminist anthropology. My study centers the experiences of Dr. Alpha Alexander, a 1976 graduate of The College of Wooster, who was an athlete in volleyball and basketball. Dr. Alexander’s life history is informed by the experiences of other prominent Black female athletes who played sports such as golf and track and field to highlight diverse understandings of what it meant to be a Black female athlete in the era of Title IX. My analysis is organized around the themes of: childhood influences, the importance of sport for these women, and the most prominent theme, Title IX, gender, and diversity research. In conclusion, I argue that the history of Black women in the era of Title IX builds upon the struggles of the Civil Rights Era, and continues to contribute to the advancement of Black women in sport.
Here is the Black Women in Sport Foundation's Winter 2016 Newsletter,which includes a section dedicated to this research project on Black female athletes in the era of Title IX. It highlights my work with Dr. Alpha Alexander.