Guest post Courtesy of Undercover Black Man

I thought this was an excellent reminder that we cannot become so engrossed in ourselves that we forget about the contributions of others.




If you think the story of black people in America has too many forgotten chapters, let’s talk about the Indians. (November, after all, is American Indian Heritage Month.)

Did you know that the game of American football, as it is now played, owes a debt to Indians? Sportswriter Sally Jenkins explained this in her 2007 book “The Real All Americans.”

I was already vaguely aware of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, which was created by the U.S. government to “civilize” the conquered Indians. But I didn’t know that the “Carlisle Indians” were a collegiate football powerhouse in the early 20th century, competing against teams such as Harvard and Yale.

The Carlisle Indians couldn’t match the white teams for physical size. So instead of the common style of play – grinding trench warfare – Carlisle focused on speed, forward passing and offensive trickery.

This strategy was developed by Carlisle’s most successful coach, a white man known as“Pop” Warner.


Sally Jenkins focuses on a 1912 game between Carlisle and the U.S. Army team at West Point. Army’s star offensive player was halfback Dwight D. Eisenhower... a future president of the United States.

Carlisle’s star was one of the greatest athletes of all time, Jim Thorpe,who played running back, defensive back, kicker and punter.

The Carlisle Indians won.

The racial dimension of this game against Army is fascinating.Click hereto hear a minute-long excerpt from the audiobook version of “The Real All Americans.”

 

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