October 18, 2006

University of Oklahoma to honor first Black Sooner in this Saturday's game.: The Sooners have received permission from the NCAA and the University of Colorado, who travels to Norman this Saturday, to paint the 38 yard line of their field to honor Prentice Gautt, marking the 50th Anniversary of his debut. (more inside)

posted by Ufez Jones to football at 06:09 PM - 6 comments

Gautt went on to become the MVP of the 1959 Orange Bowl and went on to play for seven seasons in the NFL. He joined the Sooners two years after the passage of Brown v. Board of Education despite attempts made by various people to pressure legendary Sooners coach Bud Wilkinson, who consistently had Gautt's back, to prevent the team from integrating.

posted by Ufez Jones at 06:09 PM on October 18, 2006

When former Sooners coach Bud Wilkinson was pressured against giving Gautt a scholarship, a group of black doctors and pharmacists gave him money to attend the school. Within a year, Gautt had a scholarship and the donated money was given to another black student. Wow, awesome story, and how sad this happened only 50 years ago.

posted by justgary at 06:59 PM on October 18, 2006

Wow, awesome story, and how sad this happened only 50 years ago. Indeed, and as a rather dramatic counterpunch, Gautt came just five years after the lamentable Johnny Bright Incident at Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State). thanks for fixing my post, gary

posted by Ufez Jones at 07:49 PM on October 18, 2006

Well, Sipuel v. Oklahoma Board of Regents happened in 1948 which allowed black students in general to attend my school. McLaurin v. Oklahoma Board of Regents happened in 1950 which dealt with special treatment of black students in institutions of higher learning. Norman had a long tradition of being hostile towards African Americans. The rule use to be that blacks had to be out of town by sun-down or they ran the risk of... problems. So this is something that really, really makes me proud of my school. And I wrote a paper about Sipuel and McLaurin's cases that dealt with the cultural history of Norman before the Sipuel case. That's why I pull them up.

posted by igottheblues at 01:55 AM on October 19, 2006

Thanks for the additional info, Ufez. That's some amazing stuff, and it's also fantastic that Bright and Drake UNiverstiy received an offical apology, although it took 54 years.

posted by wfrazerjr at 12:12 PM on October 19, 2006

Posts like these are the reason I continue to read Sportfilter. I am continually exposed to something I had no knowledge of. Thanks, Ufez

posted by yzelda4045 at 01:08 PM on October 19, 2006

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