Friday Night Lights

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Laurence Hurd Character Analysis

A prominent black preacher in Odessa, who spoke out in the 1980s against segregation in Ector County schools, Laurence Hurd is convicted of burglary and sentenced to prison, tarnishing his reputation (and similarly to that of Willie Hammond). Bissinger interviews Hurd, who has a hard time explaining why he gave up his position of influence to commit a crime. Bissinger notes that both Hurd and Hammond are evidence, for some white members of the community, of African American men whose influence leads to criminal behavior.

Laurence Hurd Quotes in Friday Night Lights

The Friday Night Lights quotes below are all either spoken by Laurence Hurd or refer to Laurence Hurd. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Football Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Perseus edition of Friday Night Lights published in 1990.
Chapter 5: Black and White Quotes

It wasn’t necessary to live in Odessa for long to realize that the Permian football team wasn’t just a high school team but a sacrosanct white institution. “Mojo seemed to have a mystical charm to it,” Hurd said.

Related Characters: Buzz Bissinger (speaker), Laurence Hurd (speaker)
Related Symbols: Black and White
Page Number: 112
Explanation and Analysis:

Hurd points to an important component of the "Mojo" experience—that it is reserved primarily for white fans. This does not mean that black players can't participate and help the team. Indeed, coaches are all too happy to play whichever players will give the Panthers the best chance of winning the state tournament. But the special adulation of the "Mojo" fans is often reserved for the white stars, who are showered with praise.

Hurd is therefore acknowledging that Panthers football reflects, in a frustrating and profound way, the racial divisions of Texas (and Southern, and American) society well into the twentieth century, even after the gains of the Civil Rights era. Although everyone is permitted to play on the team—as would be legally required—the way the town treats, and celebrates, its players still falls into the same categories of racial bias. 

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Laurence Hurd Character Timeline in Friday Night Lights

The timeline below shows where the character Laurence Hurd appears in Friday Night Lights. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5: Black and White
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Wealth, Poverty, and the Boom-Bust Cycle Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
Another prominent African American leader in Odessa, a reverend named Laurence Hurd, was also arrested and convicted in the early 1980s, for burglary. Hurd spoke passionately for... (full context)
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Wealth, Poverty, and the Boom-Bust Cycle Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
Hurd, as Bissinger reports (presumably having interviewed Hurd in prison in 1988) came to Odessa from... (full context)
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Wealth, Poverty, and the Boom-Bust Cycle Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
Bissinger closes the chapter by asking Hurd about his thoughts on football. Although Hurd believes football can be a source of good... (full context)