February 2013 Auction Ends Wednesday, February 6th, 5pm Pacific
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on: 2/6/2013 8:08:00 PM

Lot #369: Arthur Ashe's Handwritten Outline for a Speech on Black Athletes -- ''...White America, for the first time, saw...records...smashed by members of a group they assumed to be inferior...''


Arthur Ashe handwritten speech outline on African American athletes, with spectacular content on politics, race, history and culture. Ashe's five pages of detailed notes contain statistics as well as his personal views on athletic programs in schools and black athletes in America. Ashe titles the first sheet, ''African-American Athletes - Impact Upon Society''. He opens by providing an overview of the historical background on the African American athlete (abbreviated as ''AAA''). He writes, ''Current state of affairs of AAA relatively new: black indentured servants vs. Native American vs. whites / not much free time for sports before Civil War / Slaves wrestled, ran, swam, boxed, fought with sticks. / Jack Johnson, Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali / Boxing the most sociologically import. sport til the 1970's when basketball took over. / The decade of the 1960's changed everything...'' Ashe cites the Civil Rights Act, ''Black Social Revolution'', race riots, the Vietnam war, ''Ali's induction refusal'' and ''Mexico City Olympics & M.L. King assassination / RFK assassination''. He goes on to explain how these developments changed the face of sports, causing coaches at schools nationwide to clamor for black athletes in a ''...charade of trying to produce the next O.J. Simpson...'' He writes ''television enhanced visibility of AAA'' and ''Southern colleges fell over themselves for black athletes''. He cogently argues that this led to the ''GRAND ILLUSION BEGAN IN ERNEST [sic] IN MINDS OF AAA THAT THEY COULD BEAT THE 12,000:1 ODDS''. He goes onto list the pitfalls of such a system -- that ''1.6% of college athletes make it to the pros'' and ''athlete = laborer...slaves have to want to be freed''. He argues that it's ''becoming immaterial to behave ethically / morally (Notre Dame)'' and '''mediable' properties now in high demand''. He writes, ''THE ULTIMATE BEGINNING AND LONG LASTING SOLUTION TO THE DILEMMA OF AA ATHLETES IS WITHIN THE BLACK COMMUNITY.'' Over the course of the talk Ashe makes four main points related to education and socio-economics, including, ''...it seems irrefutable, but increasingly less so, that American society is very picky about where minorities are to feel completely accepted...the success of African Americans in sports is proof positive that...African Americans can do anything anyone else can do...white America, for the first time, saw the records and limits they came to believe as sacrosanct smashed by members of a group they assumed to be inferior...the success of African American in sport is so pervasive and so exalted, that literally thousands of young white athletes now grow up believing - falsely - that they have little chance of success in such positions as professional basketball, cornerback in football, sprinters on our Olympic team...'' Finally, on its own page, Ashe lists a ''History of hurts'' by South Africa against its black population including ''blacks detained without trial'' and ''13.5M black have been detained for contravening the PASS Laws''. Speech contains corrections and runs 5pp. on 3 ruled sheets torn from a spiral notebook. Faint toning and small tear to the bottom edge of all 3 leaves and 2 tears to the top edge of one, else near fine. With an LOA from Arthur Ashe's widow.
Final Bid (Includes Buyers Premium):$1,934
Minimum Bid:$1,000
Number of Bids:5