Raymond 0. Arsenault, Ph. D.
Jack Davis, Ph. D.
James Fellows, Ph. D.
University of South Florida St. Petersburg
The desegregation of intercollegiate athletics in the state of Florida during the late 1960s was characteristic of a regional trend in Southern colleges and sports toward an increasing level of racial interaction. While the rather belated recruitment of African-American athletes by Florida colleges appeared anachronistic in the national setting, this delay typified the Southern white resistance to dismantling the institution of segregation. However, the desire to create a nationally ranked or competitive team created an atmosphere advantageous to desegregating Florida's intercollegiate athletic programs. Quite simply, if Florida colleges wanted to create competitive teams then they needed talented athletes, even if those athletes happened to be black. Combined with the rising voice of the African-American struggle for equality and the birth of the black power movement in 1966, the recruiting of black athletes by Florida's colleges illustrated the diminishing reality of racial segregation.
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Bruce, David Thomas, "The Desegregation of Intercollegiate Athletics in the State of Florida" (1996). USFSP Honors Program Theses (Undergraduate). 68.