|Lou's Obituary - Boston Globe 1993|
|Tuesday, 27 March 2012 23:27|
Lou Montgomery, the 1st black to play football for BC; at 72; [City Edition]
Boston Globe (pre-1997 Fulltext). Boston, Mass.: Feb 3, 1993. pg. 23
Lou Montgomery, a star running back at Boston College during the late 1930s and early 1940s who was kept out of the Sugar Bowl because he was black, died Friday at Long Beach Hospital in Long Beach, Calif., of complications from a stroke he suffered a year ago. He was 72.
Mr. Montgomery was a running back at Brockton High School, where he became one of the first black team captains in the state. He graduated in 1937 and entered Boston College that fall, becoming that school's first black football player. During his high school career, he had been the only black starter on the Brockton team.
"I was used to being the only one or the first one" Montgomery said in 1987, when he was quoted in a Globe story on his return to his class reunion.
When the BC team won a bid to play in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas after the 1939 season, Mr. Montgomery decided to stay in Boston. He knew he would not be allowed to play.
"To go down there under restrictions and possibly run into some embarrassing situations -- that would be plain silly" he told a newspaper at the time.
A year later he was a key member of the undefeated BC team that was invited to play in the 1941 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Though he made the trip with the team, he was not allowed to practice or even live with his teammates during the week before the game and was not allowed to play in the game. He was also kept out of games against Southern teams that had NCAA contracts containing "Jim Crow" clauses barring blacks from playing in games against them. In the 1987 story, he called his time in college a "damn good interracial lesson. I learned a lot of things about black and white in business and in sport that I wasn't aware of until these things happened." After graduating from Boston College in 1941, he founded a semi-professional football team called Lou Montgomery's Black Eagles, which played in New England. He later became an insurance agent in Hartford before moving to California many years ago as a travel specialist for Western Airlines.
He leaves two daughters, Elizabeth Davis and Joanne Riley, both of Oakland, Calif.; a son, Michael, of Long Beach, Calif.; a brother, Merton V. Watson of Hartford; a stepbrother, James Watson of Brockton; and three grandchildren. Services will be held in California. A memorial service will be held in Hartford at a later date.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 April 2012 21:10|