The history of sports and race is messy. In baseball Jackie Robinson is universally touted as the first black major league player, which conveniently forgets Moses Fleetwood Walker and other players of color who appeared on 19th century diamonds.Football deals with the messiness a different way. The sport employs the term modern era instead. So Kenny Washington is the first black player of the modern era. James Harris was the first black quarterback to start an NFL game in the modern era. Art Shell was the first black head coach of the modern era. The reason football has to append the qualifier to its historical racial milestones is because there was a man who was doing all those things back when the National Football League began. His name was Fritz Pollard, and this is his story.
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