• 40 million dollar slaves
  • “Excuse me miss. I seem to have lost my copy of $40 Million Dollar Slaves and I was wondering if I could borrow yours?”
  • Revisiting 40 Million Dollar Slaves as Athletes Stand Up for Trayvon Martin

Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete


Her big, brown eyes acknowledged my presence with a quick blink before looking away just in time to avoid that “uncomfortably long stare”. She reached down into her shoulder bag and pulled out a book that I had never heard of…$40 MILLION DOLLAR SLAVES. This enhancesd the attraction, as her reading such a book denoted character and intelligence. How do I know..? Because I was reading the comics section of the Daily News…

As Dons, we need to shift our focus from the “butter” to the “guns.” 40 Million Dollar Slaves drives this point home. For that reason, it is on the reading list for the Don’s Corner.



As mentioned earlier, Rhoden's focuses on the sports industry. In addition, how it has meant wealth but not always development, and success for the black athlete. Rhoden also looks at how the white sports industry has come up with ways in controlling the black athletes. One of Rhoden's focuses is that of integration. Such as the integration of the Negro Leagues, this stripped itself of its great black baseball players. Rhoden argues that integration was 1) a destructive power dynamic between black talent and white ownership. 2) A chronic psychological burden for black athletes, who had to constantly prove their worth. 3) Disconnection of the athlete from his or her community. 4) The emergence of the apolitical black athlete, who had to be careful what he or she said or stood for, so as not to offend white paymasters. In chapter seven, Rhoden even compares the black sports being invaded for sports, just as Africa was invaded for manual labor. Another focus of Rhoden is to show the history of the trials and tribulations of the black athlete. He often talks about how black athletes have been thrown into this conveyor belt, which carries young black athletes out of black America and introduces them to a world with very few African-Americans, a world of white agents, real estate brokers, bank presidents, trustees, and lawyers. Rhoden points out that since the black athletes do not really have any black role models in their lives, which in turn weakens their chances of becoming leaders. Another point of interest in $ 40 Million Dollar Slaves is when the white system is challenged, or when the black athletes become too good. Rhoden argues that when the black athletes challenge the white power structure, they change the rules. He gives us a few examples of times when black athletes challenged the system; such as the time when black jockeys were winning just about every race in the Kentucky Derby, so the Jockey Club stopped giving license to black Jockeys. Another example is when R.C. Owens a football player for the 49ers use to stand on the goal line and swat field goal attempts, the NFL banned the practice. This reminds you of the slaves challenging their masters by revolting. In which the masters would beat the slaves in public to try and get back in control of slaves.