Program Details

Sports in America: A Search for Heroes

Joseph Dorinson
History / Other
Video Catch-up

Course Description

Three outstanding baseball players: a Jewish-American, an Italian-American, and an African-American brought pride to their respective ethnic groups and elicited admiration from Americans both on and off the field. Greenberg, DiMaggio, and Robison paved the way for others like Sandy Koufax, Yogi Berra, Bill Russell to shine as role models, game changers, and contributors to a just America for all. In assessing these extraordinary athletes' careers from the 1930s to the 1950s through film clips, popular songs, engaging narrative, we will discover how this tremendous trio transformed an often fragmented nation into one that rendered "the American Dream" more accessible to all. This lecture will show how the above three heroes paved the way for other marginal groups to follow the pursuit of the American Dream into the 21st century. Athletes today not only serve as role models; they also speak to a broader audience on contemporary issues. No stranger to controversy, some have gained a platform to voice their discontent in speaking truth to power. In the minds of sports fans, they remain, in the words of Noble Laureate Bob Dylan: forever young.

About the Instructor

  • Joseph Dorinson has been a professor in the History Department at Long Island University since 1966. Dorinson has written the book, Kvetching and Shpritzing: Jewish Humor in American Popular Culture(2015), and has co-edited the book, Jackie Robinson: Race, Sports and the American Dream (1999). He has written numerous articles on a variety of subjects concerning his beloved borough of Brooklyn, focusing on athletic heroes, sports history, film history, politics, humor, and ethnicity. He has organized conferences at LIU on Jackie Robinson (1997), Brooklyn (1998), Paul Robeson (1998) and Basketball, (2001) at St. Francis College in Brooklyn. He was inducted into the Brooklyn Jewish Historical Initiative Hall of Fame on Nov. 14, 2019.

Upcoming programs presented by Joseph Dorinson.

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