Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

George and Ann RichardsCivil War Era Center

Colored Conventions
Amira Rose Davis
Amira Rose Davis

Amira Rose Davis

314 Weaver Building, University Park, PA 16802

I am a 20th century U.S. historian with a particular interest in race, gender, sports and politics. I am currently working on my first book manuscript entitled, “Can’t Eat a Medal”: The Lives and Labors of Black Women Athletes in the Age of Jim Crow which traces the long history of Black women’s athletic labor and symbolic representation in the United States. Using black newspapers and magazines, advertisements, institutional records of black colleges and social organizations, yearbooks, scorecards, Olympic reports, personal and family correspondence, and oral histories, my work demonstrates the ways in which black women’s athletics impacted negotiations of modern and respectable black womanhood, concepts of racial destiny and struggles for civil rights. While highlighting women who used athletics to gain social mobility or assert new notions of black womanhood, this project ultimately argues that black institutions, sporting organizations and state apparatuses routinely used black women’s athletic bodies to advance their respective social, political and financial interests.


  • Ph.D, Johns Hopkins University, 2016
  • M.A., Johns Hopkins University, 2013
  • B.A., Temple University, 2011
  • Bs.Ed, Temple University, 2011

Recent Publications:

“No League of Their Own: Baseball, Black Women and the Politics of Representation,” Radical History Review, Issue 125, May 2016

“On the Courts of Druid Hill: Lucy Diggs Slowe and the Rise of Organized Black Tennis” in Baltimore Sports History: Stories from Charm City, ed. Daniel Nathan. Sport, Culture, and Society Series, University of Arkansas Press, August 2016

Recent Courses:

Hist 021 American Civilization Since 1877
Hist 4?? America in the 1960s
His/WGSS Gender and Sexuality in Sport
His/Afam Race and Sports

Research Interests:

20th Century US History, African American History, Sports History, Labor History

Areas of Specialization:

Twentieth Century U.S.: