National Football Foundation

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The National Football Foundation & College Football Hall of Fame Black History Panel Set for Feb. 22
Intimate roundtable discussion with Hall of Famers Thom Gatewood, Don McPherson, Gene Washington and John Wooten.
Published: 2/17/2017 11:00:00 AM
(Pictured: The NFF will host a Black History Month roundtable at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta on Feb. 22 featuring College Football Hall of Famers Thom Gatewood (Notre Dame), Don McPherson (Syracuse), Gene Washington (Michigan State) and John Wooten (Colorado). The panel is part of a month-long celebration of Black History at the Hall.)

IRVING, Texas (Feb. 16, 2017)
– The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Football Hall of Fame will host a Black History roundtable at the Hall in Atlanta on Feb. 22. The panel, part of the “Breaking Barriers: A Salute to Black History in College Football, Delivered by UPS” celebration at the Hall, will feature three Hall of Famers who played important roles during the integration of college football: Thom Gatewood (Notre Dame); Gene Washington (Michigan State); and John Wooten (Colorado). Don McPherson, one of five African-American College Football Hall of Fame inductees from Syracuse, will emcee the evening, conducting the 90-minute discussion.

“College football has a rich history of being in the vanguard of shattering racial barriers,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “Ever since the first African-American player took the field at a predominately white college in 1889, college football has helped integrate our country and overcome prejudices. We are extremely proud of this history, and it is a powerful testament of why Football Matters well beyond the playing field.”

The audience for the event will include students from local Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hall partners and VIP guests. Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Commissioner Dennis Thomas, an All-American center at Alcorn State in the 1970s, former head coach at South Carolina State and former athletics director at Hampton University, will also be in attendance. The honorary chairman for the month-long Black History celebration at the Hall is Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

“As the birthplace of the civil rights movement and epicenter of college football, Atlanta is the perfect city for this celebration.   The many intersections of college football and black history provide us an amazing platform for engaging the community,” said Dennis Adamovich, College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience CEO. “We are honored to participate in this special opportunity, which we know will have an impact on fans both young and old.”

As part of the month-long celebration of Black History, the College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience, opened an exhibit on Feb. 1 to the public called “Breaking Barriers.” The display, located in the Specialty Exhibit delivered by UPS, chronicles the game-changing individuals, stories and the moments that paved the way, including the first southern African-American players to go north, the 1939 UCLA Bruins, the 1951 San Francisco Dons, William Henry Lewis, Jack Trice, Johnny Bright, Paul Robeson, Ernie Davis, Fritz Pollard, and Coach Eddie Robinson. The exhibit features numerous treasured artifacts, including memorabilia from Coach Eddie Robinson, the Celebration Bowl Trophy and a copy of William Henry Lewis’ football instruction book published in 1896. Additionally the Hall is donating $1 from every full-price admission sold during the week of Feb. 20, 2017 to the United Negro College Fund.

From its earliest days, the NFF has honored African-Americans who forged the path for future generations. The NFF inducted its inaugural College Football Hall of Fame Class in 1951, including Duke Slater, the legendary tackle at Iowa from 1918-21 and who was the Hawkeyes’ first African-American All-American. The NFF’s second class included famed Brown running back Fritz Pollard, who played for the Bears from 1915-16 and was the first African-American to play in the Rose Bowl Game and subsequently the first to coach in the NFL. African-Americans in the College Football Hall of Fame currently number 204 players and 12 coaches.

About The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame
Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include, the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, The William V. Campbell Trophy presented by Fidelity Investments, annual scholarships of more than $1.3 million and a series of initiatives to honor the legends of the past and inspire the leaders of the future. NFF corporate partners include Delta Air Lines, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, Hofmann Brands, New York Athletic Club, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, PrimeSport, the Sports Business Journal, Under Armour and VICIS. Learn more at

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