By Mary Grace Thomas
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS' FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN MALE ATHLETES
As I attempted to gather information, I began to realize how it would affect
these young men. These are the things I thought of:
1904 Football (Roy Young)
1904 Track & Field (Hiram Hanibal Wheeler)
1929 Tennis (Douglas Turner)
1947 Swimming (Ralph Hines)
1950 Fencing (John Cameron)
1957 Basketball (Mannie Jackson and Govoner Vaughn)
1963 Wresting (Al McCullum)
1965 Baseball (Trenton Jackson)
1982 Gymnastics (Charles Lakes)
There were barriers also which they had to face, as indicated in the following
article from the St. Louis Post Dispatch (date unknown):
It was their chance to get an education, display their talents and to aid in
getting picked for the Pros,
It becomes a means of developing self confidence, public speaking, or finding
their own niche or place in life
To learn team work and build character
It is not all about "Hoop Dreams," or tearing down nets, or winning races, or
hitting home runs, etc.
Among the Fighting Illini, who crushed the UCLA football team 45-14, were four
young Americans named Buddy Young, Paul Patterson, Ike Owens and Bert Piggott.
The wing-footed Buddy roared over two touchdowns and Patterson plunged through
one. Owens and Piggott by excellent playing also contributed to Illinois'
dazzling conquest in the Rose Bowl. Yet not one of these four, even though his
parents were tax-paying residents of Missouri, could play on the University of
Missouri team. Indeed, not one of them could attend the state university and study there. For they happen to have been born with darker skins than those who set the rules for admission to Columbia.
My thanks to Shawn Wax, U of I Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, and to Mrs. James C. Wilson, wife of deceased assistant track coach of the U of I.
Photograph will be placed here . . . .
* * 1947 HOMECOMING BADGE was designed by Ike Owens, Illini football end.
The badge was sold under the sponsorship of the Illinis Union by campus
organizations. * *