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Home The Core Story and Stadium Renaming Proposal Appendix #1: Those who recognize Jim Crow
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Tuesday, 27 March 2012 23:06



Archie Alexander, an American of African descent, enrolled in the School of
Engineering at the University of Iowa, at a time when such educational
aspirations for a black person were almost unheard of.  He also tried out for,
and made the football team as a 6'2”, 177 lb. Tackle.   He was held out of
several games early in his Hawkeye football career  when University of Iowa
officials agreed to the demands of the other colleges involved, in particular
the University of Missouri and Washington University of St. Louis.

The name Paul Robeson is well known to most Americans with some sense of
their country's history.  He was among the most multi-talented, as well as
politically controversial Americans of the 20th century.  He became an All-
American football player at Rutgers; was class valedictorian; went on to both
Columbia University Law School and the National Football League; and became
an internationally known star in music and dramatic acting.

In 1916 Robeson was emerging as a star football player at Rutgers.  Some who
saw him play went so far as to describe his athletic talent as boundless.  On
Oct. 14 of that year Rutgers was scheduled to play a home football game
against Washington & Lee, a Virginia school.  Just before gametime, Washington
& Lee informed Rutgers that they refused to play against a team which used a
black player.  Rutgers Coach George Sanford chose not to make a decision on
the matter by himself.  He chose instead to put the question “to play or not to
play” before his entire team as well as whatever Rutgers officials were present
to watch the game.  Not one of Rutgers' administrators, coaches, or fellow
team members came to Robeson's defense.  After a lengthy period of silence
by all, Robeson finally spoke up and volunteered to sit the game out.  In an
interview of Robeson years later, he described an earlier incident related to
his football experience at Rutgers.  “On the first day of practice, I was
attacked by 21 guys – all the guys on defense and all the guys on my (offensive)
team.  They put me in the hospital for two weeks”.

Butler University of Indianapolis, Indiana left black football player John
Southern at home when the Bulldogs travelled south to Shreveport,
Louisiana to play Centenary College, a school associated with the United Methodist Church.  Three years later, in 1928, Butler officials withheld
another African American player – Alonzo Watford – from a game played
in St. Louis against Washington University.

Colgate University left black player Raymond Vaughn behind in Hamilton NY
when the football team took a trip south to play the U.S. Naval Academy at
Annapolis, Maryland.  Later that same season, Vaughn was held out of a  game
at the University of Pittsburgh.  During Vaughn's senior year – 1928 – he was
held out of a home game against Virginia Polytechnic Institute (now known
as Virginia Tech) as well as a road game against Vanderbilt in Nashville,

Duquesne University, a Catholic University in Pittsburgh, held black football
player Raymond Kemp out of a road game against West Virginia University.

In the same year, David Myers, a talented black NYU football player, was
twice required to sit on the bench when NYU officials failed to stand up
to southern segregationist sentiments – first, in a game against West Virginia
Wesleyan, and later, in its much higher profile game against the University
of Georgia, to be played at Yankee Stadium because of the large crown expected.
Against Georgia, NYU officials again allowed themselves to be dictated to
on their home field, by a southern school.  In an attempt to save face, they
came up with the transparently lame excuse that Myers had sustained a shoulder
injury, and was unable to play.  New Your City sportswriters unanimously
condemned NYU's decision.  Ed Sullivan, then writing for the N.Y. Evening
Graphic, had urged the NYU administration not to allow the Mason-Dixon
line to be erected in the center of its playing field.  Heywood Broun described
NYU Coach Meehan as the gutless coach of a gutless university.  Even Myers
himself was attacked in the black press as failing to have the manliness to quit
the team and leave NYU.  For Myers, it was truly a lose-lose situation.

During the decade of the 1930, highly ranked University of Minnesota
football teams benched their black players virtually automatically whenever
the Golden Gophers played a southern opponent.  IN 1931 they withheld
Ellsworth Harpole from a game against Oklahoma State University, whom
they benched again in 1932 in a game against Mississippi.  In 1935, Dwight
Reed was kept on the bench against Tulane.  And in 1936, they again
benched Reed as well as sophomore Horace Bell for a game against the
University of Texas.

For a home game against Vanderbilt, Ohio State University allowed the
southern school to call the shots, and withheld black player William Bell
from the game.

In 1932, the University of Iowa football team travelled to the nation's capitol
for a game with George Washington University.  The Hawkeyes' two black
players remained on the bench for the entire game.

Indiana University kept black player Fitzhugh Lyons on the bench for the
Hoosiers' home game against Mississippi State University.

Michigan State left its two black football players at home while the rest
of the team travelled south for a game with Texas A&M.

Also that year, the University of Cincinnati scheduled a home game against
powerful Vanderbilt.  In order to get the booking, they had to agree not to
play their one non-white athlete, London Grant, in the game.

The University of Michigan – Georgia Tech, at Ann Arbor, Oct. 20.
Prior to leaving for the trip north , Georgia Tech officials asked that Michigan
keep star player – the black Willis Ward – out of the game.  In addition to his
gridiron exploits, (he was a 2-way end) Ward was also the heart and soul of
the Wolverines' track & field team.  He was the main reason that Michigan
had won the most recent Big Ten Track & Field Championship.  Michigan
readily agreed with Georgia Tech's requirements, and Michigan coach Harry
G. Kipke quietly sent Ward out of town on game day to perform scout duties
at the University of Wisconsin.

Playwright Arthur Miller was a student at Michigan at the time.  Somehow
he managed to get himself to Atlanta, where he was able to meet with several
members of the Georgia Tech football team.  He wanted to plead Ward's case.
Not only was Miller rebuffed with strong language, but he was told that the
visiting team would actually attempt to kill Ward if he set foot on Michigan's
own playing field.  Miller afterwards wrote an article describing his experience
and submitted it to the UM  student newspaper – The Michigan Daily -  which
chose not to publish it.  Years later, in an interview, Ward said: “The Georgia
Tech game knocked me right square in the gut.  It was wrong.  It killed my
desire to excel”.

The University of Minnesota's Homecoming Game vs. Tulane.  Tulane
officials informed their counterparts at Minnesota that they would refuse
to come north unless Minnesota agreed not to play their lone black
player – Dwight Reed – a first string end.  Tulane's racist sentiments carried
the day.  Reed remained on the Golden Gophers' bench for the duration of
the game.

Prior to the game, Walter White, secretary for the national office of the
NAACP, had sent a telegram to Minnesota President Coffman shortly
before the game.  Some of its text was: “We respectfully urge cancellation
of (the) game, as (a) rebuke to (the) unsportsmanlike and prejudiced
attitude of Tulane.  We do not believe (the) University of Minnesota will
surrender high principle for (the) sake of gate receipts.  Cancellation of (the)
game would set a high moral standard for other northern institutions....”
The university president ignored the pleas, and went on with the game, choosing
to play by the rules of Jim Crow.

Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles, California) a Catholic
institution, left two black members behind when its football team travelled
to Beaumont, Texas for a game against Baylor University.

As late as the early 1940s, both Georgetown University and the Catholic
University of America (CUA) continued to refuse to compete against teams
with black athletes in events held in Washington DC.

In 1941, NYU observed the Gentlemens' Agreement with CUA by with-
holding three black athletes from a track meet in Washington DC.
In a similar instance, in a situation discovered by the NYU Council for
Student Equality, the NYU basketball team, in December 1940, somehow
made black star player Jim Coward ineligible for its game at Georgetown,
which refused to play against black opponents in games played in the

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