Michigan State Athletics hosted its inaugural Spartan Summer Conversation, exploring the storied history of race, sport and social change on the campus of Michigan State University, June 9 in the Clara Bell Smith Center Auditorium.
Panelists included MSU football head coach Mel Tucker; journalist, writer and activist Jemele Hill; MSU Athletics chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Dr. Ashley Baker; and filmmaker, author and educator Maya Washington. She is the daughter of Spartan football great Gene Washington, who played football and ran track & field at MSU, and was a part of the Spartans' back-to-back Big Ten and National Championships in 1965-66.
Those in attendance heard from keynote speaker, MSU Dean of the Graduate School and University Distinguished Professor of History Dr. Pero Dagbovie, with a presentation on the early history of African Americans and sport at MSU. Dr. Dagbovie highlighted some of the pioneers of MSU Athletics, including legendary head coach Hugh "Duffy" Daugherty's involvement in advancing the integration of college football, and how Michigan State was credited with being the "Underground Railroad of college football," and the players that Daugherty brought to Michigan State.
MSU Dean of the Graduate School and University Distinguished Professor of History Dr. Pero Dagbovie was the keynote speaker at the inaugural Spartan Summer Conversation, exploring the storied history of Race, Sport and Social Change on June 9, 2022 in the Clara Bell Smith Center Auditorium.
Dr. Dagbovie also highlighted Spartan legends Gideon Smith, who was the first African American to participate in athletics at the university and one of two African Americans to play college football in the nation. Additionally, Dr. Dagbovie talked about Dick Lord's legacy as one of the first black players to play hockey, not just at Michigan State, but in the United States, as well as Mable Lucas, who was MSU's first Black volleyball player, graduating in 1927.
Following Dr. Dagbovie, the attendees heard moving talks from the impressive panel, led by moderator Brian Hines, with a panel discussion on the personal and professional experiences of the intersection between race, sport and social change.
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