WCU Professor to Hold Book-Signing and Discussion About New Book, “The Nile Swim Club of Yeadon: A History”


Book cover for The Nile Swim Club of Yeadon: A History.
Image via West Chester University.
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Through the pages of his recently released book, “The Nile Swim Club of Yeadon: A History,” West Chester University Professor of History Robert Kodosky calls attention to the historic racial inequities around swimming that have repercussions to this day.

According to the CDC, Black children ages 10-14 years old drown in pools at rates over seven times higher than White children. Leaning into this reality, Professor Kodosky will hold a book signing and discussion with the community about the origins of the Nile Swim Club in Yeadon, PA, as the country’s oldest owned and operated Black swim club.

The event will take place on Feb. 8 from 3:00-4:30 PM, in West Chester University’s Philips Autograph Library, located in Philips Memorial Hall (2nd floor), 700 South High Street, West Chester.

Joining Professor Kodosky in the discussion, which is entitled “POOLS APART: Swimming in America as Black and White,” will be Nile Swim Club of Yeadon President Anthony Patterson, Sr. and Victoria Prizzia, project creator of POOL: A Social History of Segregation. The event is free and open to the community. All proceeds from the book will go to the Club’s program to teach all children how to swim.

“Because of systemic economic inequalities, an alarming number of African Americans drown annually,” said Kodosky in his book’s introduction. “In some small way, this book might contribute to changing that by helping to ensure that the Nile’s programs, ones such as No Child Will Drown in Our Town, remain adequately funded. Not long ago, the Club entered bankruptcy three separate times and nearly became lost. That is unacceptable. The Nile Swim Club’s history is vital, as is its continued existence, as the members of its community firmly attest.”

This semester, Kodosky will work with students in the WCU History Department to conduct interviews with some of those highlighted in the book, as well as organize photos and artifacts collected from the Nile Swim Club. The students will create an engaging website where the interviews will be published. When completed, the oral history website will complement the book.

At the same time, Kodosky is also overseeing his students’ work on a digital storytelling project that focuses on wartime experiences; his students conducted interviews with 15 Ukrainian youth in Germany this past summer. He and his students engaged in a similar project last spring that resulted in an inspiring website that features the stories and voices of Vietnam veterans.

“There are many voices that often go unheard and stories untold,” said Kodosky. “The Nile Swim Club project, in addition to others, ensures that individuals are finally able to share their voices as historical narratives.”

Learn more about West Chester University (WCU), the largest member of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, which offers a comprehensive public institution offering a diverse range of more than 180 academic opportunities in 40 fields of study across undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels.

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