When I Passed the Statue of Liberty I Became Black (Hardcover)

When I Passed the Statue of Liberty I Became Black By Harry Edward, Neil Duncanson (Editor) Cover Image

When I Passed the Statue of Liberty I Became Black (Hardcover)


On Our Shelves Now
Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe (55 Haywood St, Asheville)
1 on hand, as of Jun 17 8:35am

"Harry Edward was a hugely talented athlete and an extraordinary man who fought all his life for justice and fairness in the face of repeated prejudice. His story is as powerful today as it was when he lived it and I urge everyone to read this book.”—Linford Christie, 1992 Olympic 100m Champion  

The lost memoir of Britain’s first Black Olympic medal winner—and the America he discovered
After winning Olympic medals for Britain in 1920, Harry Edward (1898–1973) decided to try his luck in America. The country he found was full of thrilling opportunity and pervasive racism.
Immensely capable and energetic, Harry rubbed shoulders with kings and presidents, was influential in the revival of Black theatre during the Harlem Renaissance, and became a passionate humanitarian and advocate for child welfare. He was present at some of the twentieth century’s most significant moments, worked alongside W. E. B. Du Bois and Orson Welles, and witnessed two world wars and the civil rights movement. Yet he was frustrated at almost every turn.
Toward the end of his life he set down his story, crafting this memoir of athletics and activism, race and racism on both sides of the Atlantic. His manuscript went unpublished until now. This is the deeply engaging tale of Edward’s life—and a moving testament to his drive to form a better world.

Harry Edward (1898–1973) was a sprinter who became Britain’s first Black Olympic medalist, winning two medals at the 1920 Antwerp Games. He subsequently emigrated to America. Neil Duncanson is a television executive, producer, and writer.
Product Details ISBN: 9780300270976
ISBN-10: 0300270976
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication Date: February 20th, 2024
Pages: 304
Language: English
“A fascinating historical document. Harry Edward had a sharp eye and an ever-busy pen. Unfailingly frank, humorous, always dignified and empathetic, Edward describes a world in flux, as seen by a Black hero no-one really knows about—and everyone should.”—Hugh Muir, The Guardian

“[Edwards’] manuscript was rejected by multiple publishers before his death in the 1970s. At last, his dignity and humanistic outlook are being shared with the world.”—Barney Horner, New Statesman

“This memoir, unpublished in its author’s lifetime, has finally seen the light of day thanks to Yale University Press. . . . [It features] illuminating insights into everyday life in Jim Crow America.”—Houman Barekat, Times Literary Supplement

“The celebration of Britain’s first Black Olympic medallist would merit its own narrative, but that was just the beginning of Harry Edward’s race through life. His story deserves to be told and his experiences should remind us all that we are all equal both in and out of the sporting arena.”—Steve Cram, British track and field athlete

“Harry was empowered by his Olympic experience and truly lived the Olympic values. He fought injustice and for inclusion wherever he went. His story is an inspiration to us all and is as relevant today as it was fifty years ago.”—Joël Bouzo OLY, World Olympic Association president

“Harry Edward tells the story of a man who fought for justice in the United States—and the world over. His was truly an Olympic spirit.”—Katherine Mooney, author of Isaac Murphy: The Rise and Fall of a Black Jockey

“Such a beautiful, engaging, fascinating book—and to think we had it here at the Amistad Research Center all this time. When I Passed the Statue of Liberty I Became Black is a wonderful contribution to the fields of sports and history. Kudos to Neil Duncanson for getting this memoir out into the world where it belongs.”—Lisa Moore, Amistad Research Center

“An engrossing account of the life of a remarkable man wrestling with a variety of racial and professional issues in the early twentieth century. It’s as if his commitment to athleticism was reflected in the way he dealt with life’s more important challenges.”—James Walvin, author of The People’s Game