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On this date, in 1916, Jerome Holland was born. He was a Black diplomat and educator.
Born in Auburn, N.Y., Jerome Heartwell Holland was (in 1935) the first Black man to play football at Cornell University. He graduated in 1939 and received a master’s degree in sociology two years later. After teaching sociology and physical education at Lincoln University, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1950. Holland served as president of Delaware State College from 1953 to 1959 and Hampton Institute from 1960 to 1970.
He also wrote several economic and sociological studies of African Americans, including Black Opportunity, in 1969. President Nixon appointed him ambassador to Sweden in 1970; he was also a board member of nine major United States companies, including AT&T and General Motors. In 1972, Holland became the first Black to sit on the New York Stock Exchange board, a position he held until 1980. He became a member of the College Football Hall of Fame in 1965. Jerome Holland died on January 13, 1985.