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Tue, 12.27.1892

The First Black College Football Game in America is played

On this date, in 1892, the first Black College Intercollegiate football game was played. The game was played in the snows of North Carolina, two days after Christmas.

It was between Livingstone College and Biddle College, which eventually changed its name to Johnson C. Smith University. The Livingstone Bears were formally organized in the fall of 1892.  The team included J.W. Walker (captain), W.J. Trent (manager), R.J, Rencher, Henry Rives, C. N, Garland, J. R. Dillard, J.B.A. Yelverton, Wade Hampton, Charles H Patrick, and J.J. Taylor, and F.H. Cummings. As documented in the college's newspaper's 1930 edition, team members purchased a regulation football and uniforms, and the players equipped their street shoes with cleats, taking them off after practice.

The young women of the school's industrial department made the players' uniforms for the first game. The teams played two 45-minute halves on Livingstone's front lawn. W.J. Trent scored Livingstone's only touchdown on a fumble recovery.  By then, the snow had covered the field's markings, and Biddle argued that the fumble was recovered out of bounds.

The official ruled in Biddle's favor, allowing them to keep the 5-0 lead they had established early on and give the visitors victory.


Black First:
2,000 years of extraordinary achievement
by Jessie Carney Smith
Copyright 1994 Visible Ink Press, Detroit, MI
ISBN 0-8103-9490-1

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