Rhoden, Harris Among Nominees For Black Ice Hockey And Sports Hall Of Fame

By BASN Wire Services
Updated: May 14, 2008

NOVA SCOTIA– The 2008 Black Ice Hockey And Sports Hall Of Fame Advisory Committee announced the nominees for the third Black Ice Hockey And Sports Hall of Fame under the category of Sports Writer/Historian/Journalist.

A total of 10 individuals have been nominated. A possible total of four individuals will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at this year’s Black Hockey And Sports Hall of Fame Conference scheduled for August 15-16, 2008 in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

The inductees will be announced on Thursday, May 15th. The nominees are:

1. William C. Rhoden. A graduate of Morgan State University in Baltimore, William C. Rhoden has been a sportswriter for the New York Times since 1983, and has written the “Sports of the Times” column for more than a decade. Previously, he was a copy editor in the Sunday Week in Review section since October 1981 when he joined the newspaper. Before joining The Times, Mr. Rhoden spent more than three years with The Baltimore Sun as a columnist. Before that, he was associate editor of Ebony magazine from 1974 to 1978. He currently serves as a consultant for ESPN’s SportsCentury series, and occasionally appears as a guest on their show The Sports Reporters. In 1996, Rhoden won a Peabody Award for Broadcasting as writer of the HBO documentary Journey of the African-American Athlete. He is the author of Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall And Redemption Of The Black Athlete (2006). (2nd Time Nominated).

2. Dr. Robin Winks, author of The Blacks In Canada (1971). For years, and until his death in 2003, Dr. Robin Winks was considered by many to be the single-most expert on Black Canadian history. His book is considered the finest book ever written on the history of Black Canadians and their role in Canada. It is a chronicle of Black Canadian Society from the 1600′s to the present. Professor Winks was a noted scholar in a wide range of subjects, including British imperial history, Canadian-American relations, comparative American history, conservation history and the theory and development of espionage. He chaired the Department of History at Yale 1996-1999. (3rd Time Nominated).

3. Kevin Smith. Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, Kevin Smith is a boxing historian and author who has researched the history of the black prizefighter for over 15 years. The founder of the Historical Society for Black Prizefighters, Smith has served as a consultant for the History Channel, the British Broadcasting Company, the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery (London) and PBS as well as the International Boxing Hall of Fame and several historical societies nationwide. A member of the International Boxing Research Organization, his most recent book is entitled The Sundowners: The History of the Black Prizefighter 1870-1930, a 640 page biographical encyclopedia of boxing’s black practitioners. Mr. Smith has written two previous books on boxing, Boston’s Boxing Heritage (2002) and Black Genesis: The History of the Black Prizefighter 1760-1870 (2003), the first volume in his Caramel Colored Kings series. (2nd Time Nominated).

4. Sheldon Gillis. Former Graduate Student, Saint Mary’s University, Nova Scotia. In 1996, Sheldon Gillis wrote a dissertation entitled: Putting It On Ice: A Social History Of Hockey In The Maritimes 1880 -1914. Though the manuscript was never published, it is notable for being the first academic study to document the history of The Colored Hockey League and its historic importance in Canadian hockey. What makes Gillis’ work even more amazing is his ability to locate primary source materials and to construct a detailed story and timeline on the League. (3rd Time Nominated).

5. Dr. William A. Spray. Dr. Spray is the author of The Blacks of New Brunswick (1972) a little-known, and often overlooked, history of Blacks in Canada. Dr. Spray traces the history of black settlement in the province of New Brunswick, looking at slavery, social conditions, accomplishments, and possibilities for the future (1972 onwards). At the time of its release, the book was historic as it is one of the few attempts by Canadian historians to document an invisible history and to recognize the role of slavery in Canada’s past. What is most troubling about Dr. Spray’s work is the sense that we have lost so much of our history and are seeing only the tip of an iceberg. Most profound is the fact that this book was written at a time when many in academic circles believed there was no such thing as Black Canadian history. (3rd Time Nominated).

6. Professor Crawford Kilian. Professor Kilian is the author of Go Do Some Great Thing: The Black Pioneers of British Columbia . First published in 1978, Professor Kilian’s book documents the history of Black pioneers in British Columbia and their contributions to the province’s early development. What makes this book amazing is the rich detail and character development that Professor Kilian presents to the reader. It is one of the first books ever written about Blacks in Canada wherein their stories are depicted in a positive and progressive context. It is a thought provoking and heart- wrenching book that reads more like a novel than a history. It is also an important book, as it documents an often invisible chapter in Canadian history. (3rd Time Nominated).

7. Professor Colin A. Thomson. Professor Thomsom is the author of Blacks in Deep Snow: Black Pioneers in Canada (1979). At the time of the books release, Professor Thomson was teaching College in Lethbridge, Alberta. What made this book unique and important was the documented accounts of Black Canadians in Western Canada – in particular references to the John Ware of Alberta – a former Black Slave turned Cowboy who is invented steer wrestling 20 years before the Calgary Stampede. On another front, what made the book troubling was Thomson’s ability to wipe away the cultural facade of the Canadian history and reveal the level to which slavery existed in Canada, showing how Blacks were kept in bondage even after slavery was abolished in 1833. (3rd Time Nominated).

8. Ed Hotaling. Edward Hotaling is a former television reporter and the former CBS Bureau Chief for the Middle East. As a television journalist he concentrated on both international developments and American history and politics. He conducted the famous interview on African-Americans in sports with Jimmy “the Greek” Snyder and was the first reporter/historian to publicly report that the U.S. Capitol and the White House, were built with slave labor. He has authored numerous books, including The Great Black Jockeys: The Lives and Times of the Men Who Dominated America’s First National Sport (Random House), the only book on those forgotten athletes, the earliest of them slaves. Charles Osgood of CBS News Sunday Morning says “this may be the most fascinating untold story in American history.” Ed Hotaling also wrote Wink: The Incredible Life and Epic Journey of Jimmy Winkfield (McGraw-Hill), the great African-American jockey whose breathtaking adventures took place amid World War I, the Russian Revolution, the Paris of the Twenties, and the Nazi invasion of France (even of “Wink’s” own stables)- and ended with a confrontation in America in which Wink emerged victorious yet again. Wink has been featured widely on television and radio, including the CBS Evening News, CNN, and NPR. The Harvey Klinger Agency in New York represents Wink. Ed Hotaling currently lives in Washington, D.C. (1st Time Nominated).

9. Cecil Harris. Cecil Harris is the author of Charging the Net: A History of Blacks in Tennis from Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe to the Williams Sisters (Ivan R. Dee, publisher), a New York Times’ Editors’ Choice selection co-written with Larryette Kyle DeBose. Cecil’s other books are Call the Yankees My Daddy: Reflections on Baseball, Race, and Family (The Lyons Press), a memoir about his lifelong allegiance to the 26-time World Series champion New York Yankees, and Breaking the Ice: The Black Experience in Professional Hockey (Insomniac Press), the first book to chronicle the unique history of blacks in hockey, from the early 1900s to the present. During a stint at Gannett-Westchester Newspapers in the 1990s, Harris became the first full-time black beat writer to cover the New York Yankees. He earned regional and corporate honors for his baseball coverage. Harris continues to write on sports for The New York Times. He has also written for Newsday, the New York Post, The (Raleigh) News & Observer, The Indianapolis Star, The Sporting News, The Hockey News and The (New York) City Sun.. He lives in Yonkers, New York. (1st Time Nominated).

10. George Elliot Clarke. George Elliott Clarke was born in Windsor, Nova Scotia in 1960, a seventh-generation Canadian of African-American and Mi’kmaq Amerindian heritage. As a writer George Elliott Clarke has published in a variety of genres: verse collections, Saltwater Spirituals and Deeper Blues (1983), and Lush Dreams, Blue Exile (1994), a verse-novel, Whylah Falls (1990 & 2000), two verse plays, Whylah Falls: The Play (1999 & 2000), and Beatrice Chancy (1999). His opera Beatrice Chancy, with music by James Rolfe, has had four stage productions and a broadcast on CBC television. This powerful opera about slavery in the Nova Scotia of the early 1800s won great reviews and enthusiastic audiences. He wrote the screenplay for the feature film, One Heart Broken Into Song (Dir. Clement Virgo, 1999). The verse play, Whylah Falls, was staged in Venice in Italian (2002). Clarke continues to publish poetry with Provençal Songs (1993 & 1997), Gold Indigoes (2000), Blue (2001) and Illuminated Verse (2005). His Execution Poems (2001) won the Governor General’s Award for Poetry. Clarke has been instrumental in promoting the work of writers of African descent, especially those of Nova Scotia. In 2002 he published, Odysseys Home: Mapping African-Canadian Literature.(1st Time Nominated).

The third Black Ice Hockey and Sports Hall Of Fame Conference scheduled for August 15-16,2008 in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada is designed to be a forum for the celebration, promotion, and understanding of the Black Athlete and his or her role in North American Society.

The Conference offers scholars and students of Black Sports History a chance to come together for the purposes of meeting and networking all the while engaging in intellectual dialogue through comparative discussions and scholarly debate on various topics pertaining to the history of Black Sports.

Topics may include, but are not limited to the Black experience in terms of individual athletes, their achievements and life histories, their struggles for self- identity, their gender, individual self-labor, the role of slavery and its impact on sports and individuals, the role of religion, the educational process, and Black nationalism.

The purpose of the Hall of Fame Conference is to lay the foundation for a permanent Black Hockey and Sports Hall of Fame in Nova Scotia in an effort to usher in a new era of ideas and discussions on the historic evolution of North American Sports and the important role that Black Men and Women have played in reshaping American and Canadian sporting cultures.