Lines of Scrimmage tells the story of football in Conway, South Carolina, where fans fill the stands on fall Fridays to cheer on their local high school team. In 1989, with returning starter Carlos Hunt at quarterback, hopes were high that the beloved Tigers would win their first state championship. But during spring practice, Coach Chuck Jordan (who is white) benched Hunt (who is black) in favor of Mickey Wilson, an inexperienced white player. Seeing this demotion of the black quarterback as an example of the racism prevalent in football generally and in Conway specifically, 31 of the team's 37 black players—under the guidance of H. H. Singleton, pastor of Cherry Hill Missionary Baptist Church and president of the local NAACP—boycotted the team in protest.
The season-long strike severed the town along racial lines as it became clear that the incident was about much more than football. It was about the legacy of slavery and segregation and Jim Crow and other points of tension and oppression that many people in Conway—and the South—had wrongly assumed were settled.
While the 1989 season is long over, the story reverberates today. Chuck Jordan is still coaching at Conway High, and he's still without that state championship. Meanwhile, Mickey Wilson is now coaching Conway's fiercest rival, the Myrtle Beach Seahawks. In the annual Victory Bell Game between Conway and Myrtle Beach, the biggest contest of the year for both teams, a veteran coach and his young protégé compete against each other—against the backdrop of a racial conflict that bitterly divided a small southern town.
Scott Pleasant, co-author (with Joe Oestreich) of Lines of Scrimmage, has served as the Coordinator of the Coastal Carolina University Writing Center since 2010 and taught as a lecturer in the CCU English Department for six years. Scott earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in English at East Tennessee State University, and studied in the English Ph.D. program at Auburn University. Over a 25-year career, Scott has taught writing, literature, songwriting, research methods, English as a Second Language, and other courses at ETSU, Auburn, Coastal Carolina, and other schools.
Copies of Lines of Scrimmage will be available for purchase and signing. Refreshments will be served.
For more information contact Jim Baggett at 205-226-3631 or firstname.lastname@example.org.