Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Lisa Cody

Reader 2

Kevin Moffett


In this paper I explore the intersection of basketball, politics, and social justice through a historical analysis of women’s basketball in the United States. I specifically focus on how changing race and gender structures shaped the sport through five historically significant markers: Jim Crow Segregation in the first half of the 1900s, the enactment of Title IX in 1972, the corporate development of professional leagues in the 1990s, amd the push for social justice through the Black Lives Matter Movement and the Georgia Senate Race in 2020. While significant progress in terms of race and gender equality has been made since the turn of the 20th century, this thesis argues that that progress falsely instills an idea of a post-racial and post-sexist United States, where in reality women of color, especially Black women, continue to be marginalized and oppressed by society at large. Today, the athletes of the WNBA have committed themselves to not only play basketball, but to advocate and fight for the rights of women and gender-oppressed people of color. In so doing, they are flipping the script— they will be the ones fighting to hold corporate and government entities accountable for their treatment of people of color across the United States

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.