The forgotten fib of … the Pennsylvania college that took on a southern bowl’s racism
In 1948, Lafayette refused an invitation to the Sun Bowl because the bowl did not give black participates, striking a blow against college footballs silent segregation
Down the hill they came that night, almost a thousand of them young and grey and ferocious about a serviceman who was black. This was in November of 1948, and the students at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania were scandalized. Some stormed the citys radio depot demanding to be heard. Others paraded into a local Western Union office where a telegram was hurriedly compiled and completed to President Harry S Truman. It spoke:
Denied Sun Bowl game because we have a negro on our team. Is this democracy?
Long before Missouris football players promised a boycott in the name of racial accept, Lafayette ended an unspoken pact in early 20 th century America by rejecting an invitation to the 1949 Sun Bowl because the bowl did not allow African American players. Lafayettes halfback David Showell was African American. The academies chairperson, Ralph Cooper Hutchinson defied the accepted rehearsal of the day and made a vow: if Showell couldnt romp, Lafayette wouldnt play-act. And rather than make their fury towards the college chairman for declining who had allegedly been the schools firstly major bowl game, Lafayettes students instead did something peculiar. They protested for their black classmate.
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