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Wed, 12.06.1961

The First Black Player Wins College Football’s Heisman Trophy

Ernie Davis accepting trophy

On this date in 1961, Ernie Davis became the first Black man to win the Heisman Trophy.

This award is given to America’s most outstanding college football player. Playing for Syracuse University, Davis, a halfback, broke ten of Jim Brown's records and was a first-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns.

Davis, nicknamed “The Elmira Express,” was stricken with leukemia, never played a professional game, and died in May 1963.

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