Washington Post associate editor, author and Pulitzer Prize winner David Maraniss delivered a talk on Monday night to The University of Massachusetts campus titled "Playing For Keeps: Race, Sports and Politics." I was sitting in the front of the Flaven Auditorium, and I was able to listen closely to his passions and life stories concerning journalism and the topics he loved to write about most; Race, Politics and Sports. Maraniss began the interesting talk by explaining the story of one of the women he writes about in his new book, "Rome 1960." Wilma Rudolph, and her life as a African American gold medal winner at those 1960 Olympics, was the first root that Maraniss planted in the audiences' mind during the lecture, which by the end, had grown into a complete, interconnected tree with the lives of Sen. Barack Obama and the 1961 Freedom Riders , each contributing a small part to the Civil Rights movement. "There is no obvious connection between those things, but they are deeply connected and the loves of my life, the obsessions of my career as a journalist weave through those three things," said Maraniss.
The lecture was at its best when Maraniss spoke about his personal experience with such people as Ed Temple, the Tennessee Tiger Belles' coach and also the special moment he had when he traveled to Vietnam with a U.S. Vietnam veteran to meet the Vietcong that had been trying to kill the U.S. Veteran some decades earlier. The way that Maraniss wove together the impassioned topics of race, sports and politics in America with his life experiences as a journalist made for a thoroughly enjoyable lecture.
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