Archive for 'Gideon “Charlie” Smith'

African-Americans in Big Ten Football, 1890-1963

Recently we took a look back at black pioneers of Hawkeye football.  No other football program in the Big Ten – or in Division I-A football – can claim such an extensive a list of early African-American standouts.  Still, every Big Ten football program has one or more racial trailblazers worthy of being remembered. Unfortunately, a comprehensive list of African-Americans in Big Ten football from the pre-World War II era has never been compiled.  It’s only recently that schools have seen fit to list and commemorate these pioneers.  I wasn’t able to find a list of African-American football standouts for…

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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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