Duke Slater has not received his proper due as a pioneer in sports history.  He was a trailblazer at Clinton High School, at the University of Iowa, in the NFL, and as a Chicago judge, yet today he is far less famous in those places than he should be.  That’s sad, but the key question is, “What can be done about it?”

On that note, this post is the start of a six-part series on how we can get “Justice for the Judge.”  This is very important stuff, sports fans – seeing these projects accomplished would give Duke Slater the recognition he deserves for the incredible, groundbreaking life he lived.  These are worthwhile, achievable goals…so let’s get it done!

Clinton High School Display

Duke Slater loved Clinton, Iowa. His family moved there when he was a teenager, and Slater attended Clinton High School from 1912-1916. Although he grew up in Chicago and lived there in his adult years, he made no secret of his affection for Clinton. Slater maintained a love all his life for the Mississippi River town where his football journey first began, returning to Clinton whenever he could to visit old friends.

Slater played three seasons of football for the Clinton High School team, and it coincided with maybe the greatest run of football dominance the school has ever had. With Duke in the starting lineup, the school claimed two mythical state championships (in 1913 and 1914) and lost only three games in three years. One of the greatest football players of all time graduated from Clinton High School, and that’s something worth commemorating.

Clinton High School has done a better job of honoring Duke Slater’s legacy than many other organizations. The school’s football program honored Slater with an award as their top lineman of the century long after his graduation.  Clinton High School also has a modest athletics trophy case, and in this case are a few artifacts related to Duke’s remarkable career at the school.

Justice for the Judge

Clinton High School’s athletic facilities are being renovated, and part of that plan includes relocating and expanding a new athletics display.  This new exhibit will honor two of the top athletes in Clinton High School history – Duke Slater and Ken Ploen.  Ploen, also a former Hawkeye, was named MVP of the 1957 Rose Bowl.

Clinton High School’s athletic department is seeking artifacts for the exhibit: apparel, programs, photos, articles…anything related to Duke Slater.  This is a very worthwhile project being undertaken by Clinton’s athletic department, and it’s an important step toward recognizing Slater’s terrific prep career.  The project is being headed by Bill Misiewicz, whose contact information is in the linked article.  I met with him as I was writing my book on Duke Slater, and he’s a really good guy.  He’s doing a great job honoring Slater’s legacy with this project and putting a lot of work into it.

I’m asking for your support of the project to help see that it gets completed…and done right!  If you know of any artifacts that might help with this display, contact me here at NealRozendaal.com or get in touch with Misiewicz directly.  If you could make a small donation to the project, I’m sure he’d appreciate that, too.  Even a small e-mail of interest or support can mean a lot.

With your help, we can make sure that this display becomes a worthy acknowledgment of one of Clinton High School’s greatest sons.  It will serve as a fine tribute to Duke Slater on behalf of the Clinton community he loved so much.

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