Gideon Smith’s inspring journey to his third college Hall of Fame

PHOTO (MIchigan State Archives): Gideon Smith was honored among his Michigan State teammates at halftime of a game in 1953 on the 40th anniversary of their unbeaten 1913 season. Visit my website homepage, TomShanahan.Report By TOM SHANAHAN Gideon Smith’s journey began in 1910 seeking education above the Mason-Dixon Line. The story continued while gaining acceptance through sports — first playing football in the north and later coaching it in the south. His rich life, largely overlooked, has earned…

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Steelers’ Bill Nunn gains his due, joining Donnie Shell and other HBCU players in Pro Football Hall of Fame

PHOTO: Bill Nunn with the Pittsburgh dynasty's four Super Bowl trophies from the 1974 (IX), 1975 (X), 1978 (XIII) and 1979 (XIV) seasons. I interviewed Donnie Shell on the Black College Football Hall of Fame in 2015 for my former website. Since then, Shell (2020) and Bill Nunn have been named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame (2021). Shell’s quotes on playing at an HBCU and Nunn finding him are still good for a story in 2021.…

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Duffy’s first Underground Railroad passenger on America through football and education

This story has been reposted from Dec. 9, 2014. Clifton Roaf passed away in 2017 at age 76. By TOM SHANAHAN Clifton Roaf's life spans the best and worst America has to offer. He grew up in the segregated South in Pine Bluff, Ark. He was a teenager at all-Black Merrill High when historic Civil Rights events unfolded in 1957 at nearby Little Rock. President Eisenhower sent U.S. Army troops to Central High to enforce desegregation, escorting for…

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