Pellom McDaniels III, Ph.D. will speak at an Author Luncheon on Oct. 25 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in Harford Community College's Chesapeake dining rooms. McDaniels' biography of Isaac Murphy, "The Prince of Jockeys: The Life of Isaac Burns Murphy," was just released on October 6 by the University of Kentucky Press.
Tickets for the luncheon are $20 in advance or $25 at the door and can be obtained online at http://tinyurl.com/beautyinsport. Copies of "The Prince of Jockeys" will be available for sale (cash or check only) and for signing by McDaniels at the luncheon.
The son of former slaves, Mr. Murphy (1861-1896) is considered by many to be one of the finest jockeys of all time. He was the first jockey to win the Kentucky Derby three times and was among the first inductees into the National Racing Hall of Fame. His win record of 44 percent has never been equaled. Yet despite his success, Mr. Murphy died in obscurity in 1896 in Lexington, Ky. His unmarked grave was found during the 1960s, and Mr. Murphy's remains were reinterred at the Man o' War burial site, and then moved again to the Kentucky Horse Park where a monument marks his racing achievements.
In "The Prince of Jockeys," McDaniels provides the first definitive biography of Mr. Murphy, whose life spanned the Civil War, Reconstruction and the adoption of Jim Crow legislation. Despite the obstacles he faced, Mr. Murphy became an important figure – not just in sports, but in the social, political and cultural consciousness of African Americans. McDaniels discusses how Mr. Murphy epitomized the rise of the black middle class and contributed to the construction of popular notions about African American identity, community and citizenship during his lifetime.
McDaniels is the faculty curator of African American collections and assistant professor of American Studies at Emory University, where he specializes in sports history and black masculinity. He received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for "The Prince of Jockeys." A former player for the Kansas City Chiefs and the Atlanta Falcons, McDaniels has curated exhibitions on a wide range of topics including the role of African Americans in the Great World War (Kansas City and Des Moines), John Brown (Kansas City), Carter G. Woodson (Kansas City and Atlanta) and Langston Hughes (Atlanta). His is the author of "So You Want to be a PRO? A Realistic Game Plan for Kids Who Want to Become a Professional Athlete" (Addax, 1999) and "My Own Harlem (Addax, 1998)."
In addition to discussing his book at the Author Luncheon on Oct. 25, McDaniels has curated an exhibition about Mr. Murphy, which at the Hays-Heighe House at Harford Community College, 401 Thomas Run Road in Bel Air, through Nov. 8 For information, call 443-412-2495.