Archive for 'Branch Rickey'

African-Americans in Pro Football, 1897-1946

Duke Slater was a pioneer for African-Americans in pro football, but he wasn’t alone.  A handful of black athletes competed in pro football before World War II, and today, we take a look back at some of their groundbreaking achievements. African-Americans in Pro Football – Pre-NFL, 1897-1919 The National Football League was founded in 1920, but before that, several professional football teams were formed.  Without the benefit of an organized league, these teams nevertheless found competition with other nearby squads, and many played very respectable schedules. I mentioned in my profile on Frank Holbrook that he played in a semi-pro…

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Clinton Osborne

(This post on Clinton Osborne, which originally appeared on, is the first in a four-part series on the men who coached Duke Slater during his career.) Coaches can have a remarkable impact on the young men who wind up playing for them. It’s as true today as it was nearly a century ago, when Duke Slater first took the football field at Clinton High School. As a matter of fact, coaches may have been even more important to someone like Slater, given the times in which he played. In an era of extreme racial discrimination, opportunities for African-Americans were…

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