Permanent reintegration of pro football

First African American(s) on each Modern-Era NFL Team
 

The late 1940s and early 1950s saw many of pro football’s teams integrate. Six members of the Pro Football Halll of Famer served as “trail blazers” during this era. In 1962, the Washington Redskins became the last team to add an African American player to its roster when they obtained Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell through a trade with the Cleveland Browns.

Here is the list of NFL teams from that period and the African American pioneers who helped erase the racial barrier that existed at the time. Noted is the year they signed a contract with the respective club.


Ollie Matson
 1 of 6 
 
 
BALTIMORE (INDIANAPOLIS) COLTS
1953 – Mel Embree, E (Pepperdine); George Taliaferro, HB/QB (Indiana); Buddy Young, HB (Illinois)

CHICAGO BEARS
1952 – Eddie Macon, HB (Pacific)

CHICAGO (ARIZONA) CARDINALS
1952 – Cliff Anderson, E (Indiana); Ollie Matson, HB (San Francisco); Wally Triplett, HB (Penn State)

DALLAS TEXANS*
1952 – George Taliaferro, HB/QB (Indiana); Buddy Young, HB (Illinois)

DETROIT LIONS
1948 – Melvin Groomes, HB (Indiana); Bob Mann, E (Michigan)

GREEN BAY PACKERS
1950 – Bob Mann, E (Michigan)

LOS ANGELES (ST. LOUIS) RAMS
1946 – Kenny Washington, HB (UCLA); Woody Strode, E (UCLA)

NEW YORK GIANTS
1948 – Emlen Tunnell, S (Iowa)

NEW YORK YANKS*
1950 – Sherman Howard, HB (Nevada-Reno); Buddy Young, HB (Illinois); George Taliaferro, HB/QB (Indiana)

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
1952 – Ralph Goldston, HB (Youngstown State); Donald Stevens, HB/DB (Illinois)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS
1952 – Jack Spinks, G (Alcorn State)

WASHINGTON REDSKINS
1962 – Ron Hatcher, FB (Michigan State); Bobby Mitchell, HB/FL (Illinois)

* Defunct
 

First African American(s) on All-America Football Conference (AAFC) Teams


The AAFC was a rival pro football league that existed from 1946 to 1949. Here is a list of the first African-American(s) who first played for each of the clubs. Three of the league’s teams, the Buffalo Bisons/Bills, Miami Seahawks, and Baltimore Colts had no black players.

BROOKLYN DODGERS
1947 – Elmore “Pepper” Harris, HB (Morgan State)

CHICAGO ROCKETS
1947 – Bill Bass, HB (Nevada-Reno)

CLEVELAND BROWNS
1946 – Bill Willis, G/MG (Ohio State); Marion Motley, FB (South Carolina State; Nevada)

LOS ANGELES DONS
1947 – Ezzret Anderson, E (Kentucky State); John Brown, C (North Carolina Central); Bert Piggott, HB (Illinois)

NEW YORK YANKEES
1947 – Buddy Young, HB (Illinois)

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
1948 – Bob Mike, T (UCLA); Joe Perry, FB (Compton Junior College)


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