About Dr. Harry Edwards
Harry Edwards was born in St. Louis but grew up in East St. Louis, Illinois. After an outstanding career at East St. Louis High, he graduated in 1960 and was awarded an athletic scholarship to San Jose State University from which he graduated in 1964 with high honors. He subsequently was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and a University Fellowship to Cornell University where he completed a M.A. and a Ph.D. in sociology. He was on the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley from 1970 - 2001 and currently is professor emeritus in the Department of Sociology.
Dr. Edwards has a long and storied history of activism focused upon developments at the interface of sport, race, and society. The combination of his experiences as an African-American, as an athlete in the 1960's, and his training in the discipline of sociology led Dr. Edwards to propose that by the late 1960's America had become very complacent about the issue of race in sports. He ultimately called for a Black athlete boycott of the United States 1968 Olympic team in large part to dramatize the racial inequities and barriers confronting Blacks in sport and society. This resulted in demonstrations by Black athletes across the nation and ultimately at the Mexico City games.
Years later, Dr. Edwards was to become a consultant on issues of diversity for all three major sports. He was hired by the Commissioner of Major League Baseball in 1987 to help with efforts to increase front office representation of minorities and women in baseball. He also was with the Golden State Warriors of the NBA from 1987 through 1995, specializing in player personnel recruitment and counseling. In 1986, he began work with the San Francisco 49ers in the area of player personnel counseling and programs. The programs and methods that he developed for handling player personnel issues were adopted by the entire NFL as was the Minority Coaches' Internship Program developed by he and Coach Bill Walsh to increase opportunities for minority coaches in the NFL.
Over his career, Harry Edwards has persisted in efforts to compel the sports establishment to confront and to effectively address issues pertaining to diversity and equal opportunity within its ranks. Edwards, a scholar-activist who became spokesperson for what amounted to a revolution in sports, is now considered the leading authority on developments at the interface of race, sport, and society and was a pioneering scholar in the founding of the sociology of sport as an academic discipline.
Dr. Edwards has been a consultant with producers of sports related programs for numerous television and film productions over the last 40 years. He has received dozens of awards and honors, including several honorary doctorate degrees. He has written scores of articles and four books: The Struggle That Must Be, Sociology of Sports, Black Students, and The Revolt of the Black Athlete.