Dec. 26, 2019

MORGAN STATE BREAKS THE BARRIER

Historical Flashblack:
December 26, 1966

53 Years Ago Today, The Morgan State College Bears made college football history in Orlando, Florida when they went head to head in college football game against a white college football team, West Chester State College in the deep south, travel with me as I look back on some sports history Morgan

This game was televised in the Baltimore Metropolitan area I can vividly remember seeing the game and being so proud that Morgan State was on television. Being from Baltimore and 12 years old it was all about seeing someone like me doing something that we all were doing on our fall and summer days. We played football and would mimic the players of the National Football League. However, this game was about that college which was about 6 miles from home in Northeast Baltimore. Each Tuesday I would read the Afro-American Newspaper and Sam Lacy's column about the goings-on in black sports. In addition, the Afro American is where I was introduced to the exploits of the Morgan State College Bears. They were always demolishing schools by scores of a whole lot to a little bit. I mean I remember thinking did any team ever score on Morgan’s defense ? In my mind Morgan State was the supreme college football team in the entire state of Maryland.

Also, it never dawned on me at the time the thought that one day I would be a proud alum of Morgan State University. My oldest brother Butch had just turned 18 and was attending the University of Maryland, College Park he was only 1 of the 20 or so blacks who attended that school. I marveled at the size of College Park campus when I went to visit him on occasions when we went to visit him. He was the first person in my immediate family to attend college. Because my oldest sister was injured at birth and had brain damage and permanently mentally retarded. So, in my mind, I was certainly going to follow in my older brother's footsteps. It wasn't until I visited Morgan State College one day in my early years and saw all these lovely women of color that I felt differently about the school. You see I never saw all these women of color at the University my brother attended. As matter of fact, I felt conflicted when one day my brother who I thought was the most militant black person in the world one day brought home his lily white girlfriend but that's another story for another day.

This story is about the team that broke the line in Orlando, Florida against West Chester State College. Also, the fact that I would personally meet many of those brothers who cracked the color barrier in Orlando, Florida that day. It inspired me as kid hopefully reading this posting to your little ones will get them to fully comprehend and understand the significance of this simple football game. It was an absolutely proud day on gridiron field when men of both colors broke that invisible line that had been separated for hundreds of years in this southern city, Orlando, which would eventually house the land of Mickey, Donald, and Minnie Mouse in a place named Disney World. This was long before those characters landed in Orlando, Florida. On this day at the Tangerine Bowl, Morgan State College made American history. Now I live only about 81 miles from Orlando and this historic game. Morgan State beat West Chester State that day on the football field. They cracked the barrier of race that had confronted black players for so long. It spelled the end of HBCU dominance in recruiting players of color because now every white university in the country started to flock where only black colleges once went.

Finally, as I conclude this posting I would like to let you know that few of those players who were victorious on the field that day were members of my fraternity Iota Phi Theta. So later in my life, I pledged in 1974 I was to become their fraternal brothers which made me so damn proud.

So as I raise a toast to our Morgan Grizzlies and say I am so proud I went to Morgan State.