Louis Moore // There Is No NFL Without Black Labor – AAIHS

There Is No NFL Without Black Labor – AAIHS – But these weren’t boys, these were men. Black men. Black men who had grown tired of the injustices their people continued to face. And this was 1963–just months after the Birmingham movement. These Black men had become aware of the platform they had as professional football players to tackle racism. On their new role as activist athletes, tackle Proverb Jacobs observed, “This is part of a national movement and we as athletes can’t turn our backs, because people look up to us and must feel we are doing our part.” And flanker Bo Roberson acknowledged, “By not playing, we as Negroes and athletes contribute a small part to the whole struggle of the Negro’s search of equality and first class citizenship.”2 If their people could not watch them play in dignity, if their people could not use the restrooms at a game because the stadium did not have facilities for Black people, then they weren’t going to perform for white fans in Mobile. The four Black men from the Oakland Raiders, Bo Roberson, Fred Williamson, Clem Daniels, and Art Powell, later joined by their other two Black teammates Proverb Jacobs and Eugene White, stood in solidarity in their struggle against segregation and forced owners into the fight.

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