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Isaac Murphy


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About the Author

Katherine C. Mooney is James P. Jones Associate Professor of History at Florida State University. She is the author of Race Horse Men: How Slavery and Freedom Were Made at the Racetrack. She lives in Tallahassee, FL.


“Deeply and impressively researched. . . . Ms. Mooney pieces together a narrative with an arc so tight and clean that it’s a wonder it actually happened. . . . It reads, in other words, like a novel, and that is because the author brought not just rigor, but craft.”—Max Watman, Wall Street Journal

“Isaac Murphy is a concise, yet highly informative, detailed rendering of the world of thoroughbred horses and jockeys, the Black struggle during the Nadir, and the impact of an extraordinary Black athlete.”—Gerald L. Early, author of A Level Playing Field: African American Athletes and the Republic of Sports

“An eloquent, deeply insightful portrait of an extraordinary athlete at a time when this nation hovered between rising above old racial wrongs and plunging back into a racist abyss. Isaac Murphy’s brilliant career and heartbreaking decline embody this era’s great potential and its tragic end. Required reading for anyone who wants to understand the forces shaping sports, race, and national character in the nineteenth century and beyond.”—Pamela Grundy, co-author of Shattering the Glass: The Remarkable History of Women’s Basketball

“Mooney deftly contextualizes one of the most significant figures in horseracing history. Anyone interested in how American sports and society reflect and affect each other should read this book.”—James C. Nicholson, author of Racing for America: The Horserace of the Century and the Redemption of a Sport

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