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Who Was George Albert Flippin, The Man Who Broke Barriers In Collegiate Football And Medicine?



George Albert Flippin was born in Ohio on February 8, 1868, to Charles and Mahala Flippin. His father, a freed slave who fought for the Union during the Civil War, went on to become a physician after attending the Bennett Eclectic Medical School in Chicago. His mother died when he was a child, but his father later married a white physician who had also attended Bennett Eclectic Medical School. Flippin graduated from Henderson High School in 1891 and went on to attend the University of Nebraska from 1891 to 1894.


Flippin, the University’s first African-American football player, rose to prominence. Despite being a fantastic player, Flippin was subjected to racism. In 1893, he was elected captain by his teammates, but the newly hired coach, Frank Crawford, refused to hire him. “It takes a man with brains to be a captain; all there is to Flippin is brute force,” he was quoted as saying. Flippin became president of the Palladian Literary Society, sergeant-at-arms of the 105-member University Debating Club, and a charter member of the University Medical Society in Lincoln, despite Crawford’s opinion.


Flippin began his medical studies at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Chicago in 1898. He graduated in 1900 and worked in Chicago and Pine Bluff, Arkansas before settling in Stromsburg, Nebraska, with his wife, Georgia Smith, in 1907. His father and stepmother had established a medical practice in Stromsburg.


Flippin built Stromsburg’s first hospital, which is now a Bed and Breakfast.


He was a well-known doctor and surgeon who made house calls throughout the state. Flippin always cared for the sick, whether they could afford it or not.


He was a physician, but his status as a well-educated professional did not shield him from discrimination. Flippin was involved in an early civil rights case in Nebraska, where he was refused service at a restaurant.


George Flippin passed away on May 15, 1929. He was inducted into the University of Nebraska Football Hall of Fame posthumously in 1974.

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