Carry the Rock: Race, Football, and the Soul of an American City


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Carry the Rock tells the story of the dramatic ups and downs of a high school football season, and it reveals a city struggling with its legacy of racial tension and grappling with complex, subtle issues of contemporary segregation. 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.

A former reporter for Sports Illustrated and features editor at Tennis magazine, he edited Tennis and the Meaning of Life: A Literary Anthology of the Game.

An all-around leader and scholar,Thompson goes on to Yale and is selected as a Rhodes Scholar only to be killed within weeks in a traffic accident. With the potential and desire to be a great leader back in his Little Rock home the author shows how devastating his loss was. The author lets us know that though good people are trying to improve race relations it has not been easy and never is going to be easy. As a symbol of race relations, not just in the South, but throughout the country, Little Rock Central High is an apt focus. It is a living, breathing institution that continues to face the issues sometimes winning the day and sometimes not.

Despite being a life-long resident of central Arkansas with numerous Central High graduates as friends I was surprised by how little I knew before reading this book. Some of the racial history covered stories that I was unaware of. It is a good primer for both Little Rock's social history and Southern race relations.

Editorial Reviews

After reading this book I will never think about Central High in the same way. During a pregame meal for a Arkansas high school, someone notices that both the coaching staff and the football team have self-segregated; black staff and white staff, black players and white players separate. It is a quiet but telling moment.

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Fifty years after nine black students faced screaming mobs and the hostility of staff and government while trying to enter Little Rock's Central High School. The divide that matters most to Central High School's coach Bernie Cox is the divide between winners and losers. His football team is three years out from their last state championship and do not seem to have the drive and devotion to regain the title.

Coach Cox tries to instill pride and structure in his team, but they are pulled in many directions Author Jay Jennings follows the Central High School Tigers from summer practices through a frustrating season and season's end. Coach Cox is a powerful presence but his players are not fleshed out and remain one dimensional.

The interwoven storyline of the struggle to integrate is actually the more engrossing. The real disappointment is how little the two seem to mesh Without those voices this book is good, but not great. One person found this helpful. See all 14 reviews.

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Published on April 27, Published on January 3, There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. First, the structure of the book is really smart -- it juxtaposes Little Rock history, politics, and educational issues with the struggles of the team during this historic year, fifty years after the Little Rock 9 became famous. The writing is clean, honest, and genuine.

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Library Journal Review Fifty years after the first nine black students at Little Rock's Central High were escorted into the Arkansas school by National Guard troops, Little Rock native and resident Jennings former reporter, Sports Illustrated; editor, Tennis and the Meaning of Life spent the football season with the Central football team. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. This book tells the story of football, race, and the Little Rock community struggling to unify after years of separation. I received a review copy of this book from the publishers via the First Reads program at Goodreads. We have sucked this year. His left foot came down on the 3-yard line and his right crossed in front of it, landing inches inbounds at the 2. How could a young child survive all this?

While the author never sticks his face in the way of the story, you can feel his compassion and sense how profoundly the year must have affected him, as well as the Central High Tigers. The fact that Jennings can make school board politics and districts interesting attests to his skills as a writer. Most compelling, though, is his portrait of the coach, Bernie Cox. The coach is strict yet loving, and seemingly the perfect leader for Central High. Like the author, Cox possesses a modest dignity and understated wisdom.

Carry the Rock: Race, Football and the Soul of an American City

Cox doesn't so much "jump off the page" as seep through -- as does the team's heartbreaking season. This book is the "Friday Night Lights" for a smarter reader: Anyone interested in sports, race, or the education of our kids will love this book.

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This is a wonderful story of a Southern town centered around its flagship public school, Central High. The author weaves together various stories and characters to retell race relations in Little Rock. It is often ugly and at times heart breaking. For instance there is the black student Roosevelt Thompson, a smallish, overachieving offensive lineman at Central High.

Thompson was destined for greatness. An all-around leader and scholar,Thompson goes on to Yale and is selected as a Rhodes Scholar only to be killed within weeks in a traffic accident. With the potential and desire to be a great leader back in his Little Rock home the author shows how devastating his loss was. The author lets us know that though good people are trying to improve race relations it has not been easy and never is going to be easy. As a symbol of race relations, not just in the South, but throughout the country, Little Rock Central High is an apt focus.

It is a living, breathing institution that continues to face the issues sometimes winning the day and sometimes not. Despite being a life-long resident of central Arkansas with numerous Central High graduates as friends I was surprised by how little I knew before reading this book.

Some of the racial history covered stories that I was unaware of. It is a good primer for both Little Rock's social history and Southern race relations.

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After reading this book I will never think about Central High in the same way. During a pregame meal for a Arkansas high school, someone notices that both the coaching staff and the football team have self-segregated; black staff and white staff, black players and white players separate. It is a quiet but telling moment. Fifty years after nine black students faced screaming mobs and the hostility of staff and government while trying to enter Little Rock's Central High School. The divide that matters most to Central High School's coach Bernie Cox is the divide between winners and losers.

His football team is three years out from their last state championship and do not seem to have the drive and devotion to regain the title. Coach Cox tries to instill pride and structure in his team, but they are pulled in many directions Author Jay Jennings follows the Central High School Tigers from summer practices through a frustrating season and season's end. Coach Cox is a powerful presence but his players are not fleshed out and remain one dimensional. The interwoven storyline of the struggle to integrate is actually the more engrossing.

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The real disappointment is how little the two seem to mesh