Fight for Freedom & Sports Journalism

Fight for Freedom and The Golden Age of Sports Journalism

The Fight for Freedom

These antebellum slave broadsides, compelling letters and eye witness reports track the slow course of progress toward equality in our country. Played out in the courtroom as well as the street, the struggle for equality comes to life through these vivid documents of courage and heroism. From journalists who put their lives on the line to freedom riders and protesters who faced mob violence, Americans have fought—and continue to fight—for freedom. Nowhere is this more evident than in the struggle for American civil rights. The liberties we now enjoy are built upon the victories of those who fought for freedom during the Civil Rights era. Today, the First Amendment continues to serve as a living, vital instrument in America’s fight for civil rights, as witnessed by the exhibitions in the fourth floor lobby.

The Golden Age of Sports Journalism: Grantland Rice and Fred Russell

Grantland Rice and Fred Russell were legendary sports journalists who shaped the Golden Age of Sports. At the height of his career, Rice was syndicated in more than 100 newspapers across the country. Russell’s career spanned over seven decades of journalism. Their coverage of the Olympics, football, baseball and horse racing set the standard for athletes as role models who exemplified the American way of life. Their writing focused on the positive aspects of the people, groups, and teams that they covered, from Babe Ruth to Jesse Owens. While they didn’t shy away from controversy, their uplifting journalistic style contrasts with much of today’s tell-all sports reporting. The national role that these longtime colleagues, both Vanderbilt graduates, played in sports writing put them in a league of their own.