Document Type


Publication Date



Throughout African American history, sport has played a major role in promoting integration and full participation in American society beyond the playing fields or courts. In the 1960s, after the first wave of African American athletes entering the white-dominated collegiate and professional sports leagues, active forms of protest against racial inequality in the US became gradually more relevant. Though in relatively small numbers, some African American athletes across various sports have used their privileged situation to voice the need for a revision of the system which has failed to represent and serve their people throughout American history.

This paper focuses on the boycott of the American Football League (AFL) All-Star Game in New Orleans after African American ball players experienced racial discrimination in the Crescent City. Their decisive action led the league officials to move the game to Houston, but, of course, also impacted New Orleans’ reputation and prestige in a rapidly changing America. Through an analysis of newspaper discourse, this diploma thesis attempts to reconstruct how public opinion about this incident was shaped. Moreover, it will be discussed how the boycott impacted race relations in New Orleans and how the protest became a part of public memory in recent years.


This thesis was completed with the support of Center Austria at the University of New Orleans.