Carry the Rock

Race, Football, and the Soul of an American City

Jennings Jay Jennings

ca. 30,37
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In 2007, as the fiftieth anniversary of the fight to integrate Little Rock Central High School approached, veteran sportswriter and native son of Little Rock Jay Jennings returned to his hometown to take the pulse of the city and the school. He found a compelling story in Central High's football team, where Black and white students toiled under longtime coach Bernie Cox, whose philosophy of discipline and responsibility and punishing brand of physical football had led the team to win seven state championships.Carry the Rock tells the story of the dramatic ups and downs of a high school football season and reveals a city struggling with its legacy of racial discrimination and the complex issues of contemporary segregation. In the season Jennings masterfully chronicles, Cox finds his ideas sorely tested in his attempts to unify the team, and the result is an account brimming with humor, compassion, frustration, and honesty. What Friday Night Lights did for small-town Texas, Carry the Rock does for the urban South and for any place like Little Rock where sports, race, and community intersect.

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