Graduation Date

Winter 12-15-2017

Grading Professor

Steve Daly

Subject Concentration

Arts & Culture

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


When you first see the football team from Frederick Douglass Academy in East Harlem, you can tell they have an edge. A certain swagger that says this team has something to prove. Their athleticism is scrappy, their personalities are animated, and their motivation is a dirt field, half a mile from the school.

That’s where they walk every day in the fall to practice. Instead of a football field, it’s a city park with a softball infield in each corner. The outfield grass in the middle is torn up from the team’s cleats. A cloud of dust is kicked up and hangs in the air. The players don mismatched practice jerseys and some have spray-painted helmets. Some of them come from poverty, single-parent homes, or crime-riddled neighborhoods. And even though the program started just four years ago, the Lions have played in two straight conference championship games.

The Lions' success led them to move up from the Cup Conference to the Bowl Conference in 2017, where they played against tougher competition. For the first time in nearly three years they struggled through the season, and if not for a late winning streak, they would have missed the playoffs. Instead, they found themselves in a round-one matchup against an experienced team that would go down to the wire and end in thrilling fashion.



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