African Americans were not permitted to play in the National Football League in the early 1900s. Charles Follis, the first African American to play professional football in the United States with Shelby Athletic Club, did not break the color barrier until 1902.
When Follis retired in 1906, there was a void in the professional football landscape for African-Americans. According to African American Registry, Charles “Doc” Baker later filled this void by becoming the second Black professional football player while playing for the Akron Indians.
Despite his brief stint with the Akron Indians, he was well-liked by his teammates, who referred to him as Doc. He got that name because he used to work as a physician’s aide. Baker played halfback for the Akron Indians from 1906 to 1908, and again in 1911. He is known for his defensive abilities as well as his ability to go on the offensive when the situation calls for it. He acted as if he were impervious to injuries.
Even when his opponents attacked him ruthlessly with others on top of him, he always smiled and moved on. He was regarded as one of the Akron Indians’ best halfbacks by both fans and teammates.
Baker is believed to have been raised in an Akron children’s home and died in the early 1920s. There isn’t much public information about his life after football.
Because of the degree of segregation in the United States, the African-American community focused their efforts on developing their own socioeconomic institutions because the system was designed to disadvantage them prior to World War I. Sports were also included. The blacks aimed to increase the number of black players in the major leagues of football and baseball.