What Texas’s high-school football history can remind us

Nov 27, 2017 by

It’s often remarked that the camaraderie on American football teams tends to plow through color lines. This story looks back at an era that’s a touchstone for the early spirit of collaborative integration. – Clayton

Henry Gass – November in Texas means the start of high school football playoffs, but this year it means something else as well: the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of high school football in the state. Though the all-black leagues had celebrated traditions, with integration came the opportunity for black and white athletes to get to know each other in a setting that demanded teamwork and mutual understanding. Today the sport often still reaps those benefits. But it arguably took a hit in the furor over the recent national anthem protests in the National Football League and other sports. Now, some observers are wondering whether a key purpose of integration has been lost, and needs to be rediscovered. “College and high school sports, when they integrated, it was the first opportunity to sit down and talk to somebody you didn’t normally associate with and find out things beyond the stereotypes,” says Michael Hurd, director of the Texas Institute for the Preservation of History and Culture at Prairie View A&M University. “That’s one of the avenues sports facilitates,” he adds. “It always has, and it probably will continue to do so, because there’s still some misunderstanding between races [even decades after Jim Crow.]”

Source: What Texas’s high-school football history can remind us

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