Houston Matters

Stories From The Integration Of Texas Football

Robert D. Jacobus discusses his book, Black Man in the Huddle.

Texas Football Integration
Bobby Smith (top center) and members of the integrated Corpus Christi Miller High School football team celebrate a victory in 1959. That year, Smith was the first African American in Texas high school football history to make the first team all-state.

Black Man In The Huddle - Book

Football is an almost sacred tradition to many Texans. But the experience wasn’t always the same for every player.

Young, black men playing the sport often had much different facilities, equipment, environments – and even played on a different day of the week from their white counterparts.

To accurately capture their experience, Robert D. Jacobus interviewed some 250 former players, former coaches, and others with firsthand knowledge of the racial integration of high school and college football in Texas.

He collected their stories in his book, Black Man in the Huddle: Stories from the Integration of Texas Football.

In the audio above, he tells Houston Matters host Craig Cohen some of the stories he encountered.

Jacobus also chronicled the integration of college sports in his book Houston Cougars in the 1960s: Death Threats, the Veer Offense, and the Game of the Century. In 2015, he spoke to Houston Matters about that book.

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Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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