Archive for 'Frank Kinney Holbrook'

African-Americans in Hawkeye Sports, 1895-1961

The University of Iowa has a long and noteworthy history of providing athletic opportunities for African-Americans, particularly during times when such opportunities were uncommon elsewhere.  As part of Black History Month, I think it’s important to take a look at some of these pioneers for African-Americans in Hawkeye sports and recognize their accomplishments. African-Americans in Hawkeye Sports – The First Three The first three African-American athletes I’ve been able to identify from the University of Iowa were Frank Holbrook, Archie Alexander, and Duke Slater. Frank Holbrook, who I discussed indepth in a previous post, was Iowa’s first black athlete, lettering for the Hawkeye…

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Western Interstate University Football Association

In light of my post about Frank Holbrook, I decided to take a closer look at Iowa’s first conference: the Western Interstate University Football Association, which Iowa was a member of for six seasons from 1892-1897. According to my research, the WIUFA – along with the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the Northwest, which was also founded in 1892 – was the first interstate football conference between what are now Division I-A schools.  At least three football conferences predate the WIUFA, but these leagues were single-state conferences with schools in Illinois, Indiana, and Kansas, respectively. The Western Interstate University Football Association Membership in the…

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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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