His Own Way: Ace Atkins

The son of Auburn University football legend Billy Atkins, William Ellis “Ace” Atkins was born to play for the Tigers. What he couldn’t have imagined was that, when he got there, the program would be reeling, banned from TV and bowl games, and led by an unproven coaching staff — one that wasn’t entirely sold [...]

The All-American Cuban Comet

As a newly arrived Cuban immigrant, 10-year-old Carlos Alvarez felt the sting of discrimination, but soon found a way to combat it: football. Excelling at a sport few immigrants played, “the Cuban Comet” became a record-smashing receiver at the University of Florida and an inspiration to others struggling to adapt to life in a new [...]

Errol Flynn’s Ghost: Hollywood in Havana

In late 1958, Hollywood swashbuckler Errol Flynn found himself in the middle of a real-life adventure more improbable than the plot of any film he ever made: the Cuban revolution. The episode was a fitting climax to mid-20th century Cuba’s obsession with American movies — a fixation that led Havana to boast of more movie [...]

A Long Way from Home

Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color line in 1947, but it took another generation of Black and Latino players to make the sport truly open to all. Playing in remote minor-league towns where racial segregation remained a fact of life well into the 1960s, these were the men who, before they could live their big-league dreams, [...]