Turning of the Tide

Turning of the Tide

How One Game Changed the South

Book - 2006
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New York Times bestselling author Don Yaeger tells the electrifying story of the game that broke down the last stronghold of racial division in college football.
In 1970, legendary Alabama coach Paul "Bear" Bryant met his good friend and USC coach John McKay in the Los Angeles airport. Their handshake set the stage for an event that would resonate in history: the first integrated football game to be played in Alabama.

The two teams that met on Crimson soil in September represented two distinct faces of college football: Bear Bryant's Tide was the all-white national powerhouse in the SEC, and the USC Trojans, a diverse team featuring an all-black starting backfield, reflected the social changes that were sweeping the nation. Though he and the Tide were revered in the south, Bryant knew that he was signing on for a certain loss at the hands of Southern Cal, a fearfully dominant force with black players like Heisman winners O. J. Simpson and Mike Garrett. After their resounding 42-21 loss, Bryant approached McKay and asked to borrow Sam "Bam" Cunningham, the Trojan fullback that had decimated Alabama's defensive line. Presenting him to his players he famously said, "Gentlemen, this is what a football player looks like."

During a difficult time when the entire country was torn apart by issues of race, this game not only swept away the last remnants of the racial divide in college football, but marked the tipping point for civil rights progress in the south.

Publisher: New York : Center Street, 2006.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9781931722940
Branch Call Number: 796.33263 Yeager
Characteristics: xvi, 252 p., [8] p. of plates :,ill. ;,24 cm.
Additional Contributors: Cunningham, Sam
Papadakis, John


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