Dr. Cecil Brown began his lecture Games Blacks Love to Play by citing Marshall McLuhan’s 1964 observation that the games people play mirror the surrounding culture. Brown uses this stance—that games teach us about the culture they come from—to explore the history of African Americans, the interplay between black and white play cultures, and the effect these diverse forms of play had on American culture at large.
Brown divided American history into three stages. First, slave culture, in which outdoor physical play predominates. Under slavery, blacks rarely learned to read and write, as punishment was having your hands cut off. Black culture, thus, was primarily oral and kinetic out of necessity. Second, segregated culture, characterized by dance. Thirdly, integrated culture, which our digital culture is a part.