Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

In Go Up for Glory, Bill Russell describes the struggle that an African American must endure growing up in the United States. His first chapter discusses the life of prejudice that he experienced as a boy, both in the South and in California. Russell learned quickly that a wall existed between blacks and whites. Yet he was fortunate to have several teachers who had a deep interest in their students. They motivated him to do his best, and when Russell was graduated from high school he had a basketball scholarship to the University of San Francisco.

His childhood experiences would encourage Russell to become a civil rights activist. In Go Up for Glory, Russell claims that he will fight for equal rights when his basketball career comes to an end. In the last two chapters, he argues that African Americans have not been accepted into mainstream American society because of a lack of understanding. For African Americans to achieve full human rights, they must be involved in the long battle for equality.

While prejudice was the major obstacle that he had to overcome, Russell writes about other lessons and dishonest incidents that he experienced while growing up. At the University of San Francisco, he learned that the student-athlete was encouraged to cheat and that it was scholarships that created the pressure to do so. Even successful individuals, such as good basketball players, want praise from their teachers and coaches,...

(The entire section is 559 words.)