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The Unsung Hero Who Broke A Pro Football Color Barrier More Than A Century Ago

The<a href=httpshowafricacom> <a>1908<a href=httpshowafricacom> <a>Akron Indians Baker is the<a href=httpshowafricacomcategoryafrican celeb profiles> first<a> player in the back row left side Image via WikiPublic domain

 

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.

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Charles Follis

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.

Entrepreneurs and sponsors infused administrative structures into the running of football clubs, which aided. When entrepreneurs forced the system to embrace competition, it relieved pressure on black players to compete for the attention of football clubs.

This is evident in the mad rush for good football players, regardless of race, in the mid-1900s. This paradigm shift occurred in 1919, when race riots were common in Chicago and other parts of the United States.

The 1920s was tagged as the golden age of sport for many black players who made entry into the National Football League. The display of African American talent on the pitch that season was a huge statement of their capability.

The argument was that the lack of black stars in the National Football League was due to the game being dominated by players from the rural South. Another source of concern was that little was being done to protect black players from attacks, gang tackling, and maiming.

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Written by How Africa News

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