Suing Governor DeSantis

Oregon's new uniforms, torsoOregon Football

Fans Found University of Oregon’s Muscular Mascot a Lame Duck - WSJ

Here is the message I sent to Governor Tina Kotek.

Dear Governor Kotek; There is a pending class action lawsuit against Governor DeSantis, that I want to be part of. I suggest the State of Oregon also join this suit because there is a racist history between the University of Oregon football team, and the University of Florida, that would not allow to black players to play a bowl game on their Florida campus. DeSantis is trying to defund all college lessons that look like Woke. What I see is people joining teams they believe represent them. This is dangerous. Five black police officers were arrest today for beating a black man to death. Did they see themselves as a team – against the world? The NCAA may be the most successfully integrated institution – in the world. Perhaps Phil Knight can help bring about true equity?

The University of Florida however had a strict policy in place, no black athletes allowed. The Gators refused to play the game if Oregon was to field any black players, forcing Bobby Robinson and Charles Williams to skip their final game for the University of Oregon being left back at home. The Eugene community and UO administration were outraged, yet relented and reluctantly agreed to the callous request.”

Democrat Tina Kotek sworn in as OR governor, plans to declare homeless emergency | Fox News

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“Nationally renowned civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump and attorney Craig Whisenhunt will join students and elected officials to announce their intent to file a lawsuit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the State of Florida for rejecting the Advanced Placement African American Studies course from being taught in Florida high schools. Attorney Crump will be joined by three AP honors high school students who will serve as the lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit against DeSantis.”

Last week, DeSantis’ administration rejected the College Board’s African American Studies course because, as they stated: “We want education, not indoctrination.” The Florida governor said the course violates legislation called the Stop WOKE Act which he approved last year.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis asked state universities last December to disclose information on campus programs related to diversity, equity and inclusion and critical race theory amid a court battle over the controversial Stop WOKE Act.

The State University System of Florida and Florida College System administrators had to detail “the expenditure of state resources on programs and initiatives related to diversity, equity and inclusion, and critical race theory within our state colleges and universities,” according to a Dec. 28 memo from Office of Policy and Budget Director Chris Spencer obtained by ABC News.

DeSantis instructed the schools to submit the information no later than Jan. 13, ABC reported.

Some universities in the state have spent millions of dollars on DEI programming, according to the information they submitted to the governor’s office, which the News Service of Florida reviewed.

The University of Florida, the state’s flagship university, listed 43 staff positions connected to DEI and reported expenditures totaling $5.3 million on “diversity-related programs and expenses,” the news service reported. The state provided close to $3.4 million of those funds.

The university’s Office of the Chief Diversity Officer alone included four staff jobs and cost $1,085,485, of which approximately $785,000 came from the state, according to the New Service of Florida.

The University of South Florida reported about $1.2 million in diversity and inclusion office expenditures and credited state funds with over half that amount.

The University Central Florida allocated nearly $4.5 million for diversity-related expenditures, with more than half coming from the state, according to the news service.

Florida A&M University nearly matched that amount in diversity expenditures, with reports of $4.4 million on DEI efforts, including nearly $4.2 million from the state. FAMU is a historically black university, according to its website.

Exactly what programs and activities universities reported ran the gamut, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported: “Florida A&M included its Centers for Disability Access and Resources and for Environmental Equity and Justice, and did not mention any courses. The University of West Florida was more specific in its response, even reporting the $4,800 it spent on phones and office supplies to support its diversity programs and the $100 it spent on World Religion Day.”

The United Faculty of Florida union opposed the DeSantis administration’s Dec. 28 order, the News Service of Florida reported.

“Once again, Governor DeSantis has shown that he would rather outlaw ideas he disagrees with than disprove them. Our belief is that all ideas, regardless of their ideological basis and irrespective of whether we agree with them, deserve the protections of the First Amendment,” union President Andrew Gothard said in a statement to the news service when the administration publicized its request on Jan. 4.

MORE: DeSantis’ next target? Public universities facilitating sex-reassignment treatments

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/ben-crump-to-announce-lawsuit-against-ron-desantis-for-rejecting-african-american-studies-course/ar-AA16JzYw

The University of Oregon may not have been the very first school to openly embrace student-athletes regardless of ethnicity, but starting in 1926 it emerged as one of the leaders in the path towards equality. While some parts of the country lagged far behind marred in racism and unfair stereotypes about what black athletes could and could not do, African-Americans and other minorities were welcomed to come participate on an even level of competition at Oregon as student-athletes, bucking pre-Civil Rights Movement socio-economic trends. That proud aspect associated today with Oregon, of embracing equality and the spirit of individuality, was a path set in motion long ago thanks in large part to Bobby Robinson and Charles Williams.

https://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2016/10/7/13195996/oregon-webfoots-new-uniforms-throwbacks

Officers who were terminated after their involvement in a traffic stop that ended with the death of Tyre Nichols, in a combination of undated photographs in Memphis, Tenn.

Officers who were terminated after their involvement in a traffic stop that ended with the death of Tyre Nichols, in a combination of undated photographs in Memphis, Tenn.

The five Memphis police officers who were fired in connection with the death of Tyre Nichols after a traffic stop on Jan. 7 have each been charged with murder and are in custody Thursday, according to Shelby County, Tennessee, jail records.

Memphis police identified the officers last week as Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith. All five have been booked into jail.

There has been no official announcement of charges against the officers, but jail records for the officers show they’ve each been booked on several felonies, including second-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated assault.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Florida

ntegration[edit]

From its inception until 1958, only white students were allowed to attend.[46] In 1958, George H. Starke became the first Black student.[47]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckman_Act

The Buckman Act was discontinued after World War II, when the GI Bill provided a college education for returning U.S. military veterans, the overwhelming majority of them male. It was replaced by a Board of Regents. Single-gender provisions of the Buckman Act at the University of Florida (UF) and the Florida State College for Women (FSCW) were officially eliminated in 1947. FSCW returned to coeducational status as Florida State University, while UF became coeducational for the first time. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College for Negroes, the future Florida A&M University, taught both genders from its founding. Civil rights efforts and federal legislation in the early 1960s also led to all three institutions becoming racially integrated during that decade, although FAMU remains a historically black university, with over 87% of its student body African-American as of 2014.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_University_of_Florida

The University of the State of Florida served as the institution for white men; the State Normal School for Colored Students (the future Florida A&M University) served African Americans, and the Florida Female College (the future Florida State University) served white women.[4] A fourth school provided specialized training and education for the deaf and blind (the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind).

Trayvon Has Run His Race

Posted on April 12, 2012 by Royal Rosamond Press

When I first saw photographs of Trayvon, and heard how he was gunned down for what looks like racial reasons, I thought about the two black football players for the Oregon Webfoots (later the Ducks) who were not allowed to go to Florida and compete against the Florida Gators, for fear they would be dragged off the team bus, and shot, or lynched, by the Klu Klux Klan.

Bobby Robinson and Charles Williams were the star quarterback and running back, yet they did not lead their team on the gridiron due to blatant racism that right-wing Republicans claim does not exist in America, especially in the Trayvon murder.

It was my Radical Republican kindred who took an interest in ending slavery in America, and going South after the Civil War, in order to put black men in Congressional offices – employing force! The Klan targeted the Radical Republicans, as well as blacks who were being empowered by the ideas and language of Radical Republicans, as well as words they found in the Bible – that was all about God’s Social Justice!

I was very moved when I watched the folks that were close to Trayvon speak about the arrest. They spoke from a place universal to all men, of all creeds – everywhere! The Abolitionist Language that God gifted to Moses, says this very loud and clear; “The least amongst you will later be first!” This is to say, if the first can not carry God’s Message, He will choose the least to lift up His Burden!

Owning Liberty – is a burden! No easy task! Why is this so? The answer is simple, God Himself maketh a universal lunaguage that fills those who seek liberty and freedom from oppression, with a divine light – and a Godly Eloquence! All those who shared the podium with Trayvon’s parents, spoke eloqunetly of God’s Justice. It is what WE all need, and want! Let us meet God halfway in the Wilderness, and repent of our sin of inequality.

Above is a photograph of my ex-neighbor, Terrell Turner, who played for the Oregon Ducks, and took them to the Rose Bowl – twice! He helped get our mutual neighbor up a flight of stairs. I called up KVAL news in order to give the Ducks some good press, for a change. The local news spoke of two Good samaritans who were Ducks, and black. At the top of the stairs behind Turner, I had a conversation with LaGarrett Blount who had helped carry a mattress up to my apartment, after beholding this 63 year old man, struggling. We talked about his famous hurdle. After the Boise incident I heard LaGarrett and other Ducks using the N word in regards to the incident where Blount struck a player who was leading a charge in order to taunt Blount, because of an exchange on twitter.

“Were there racial slurs before the game?” I asked Blount, who nodded his head in the affirmative.

Whe my minister in Blue River drove me from his church, I baptized myself and declared I was an Nazarite. On the computer I looked for other Nazarites, and found the Shembe Zulu Nazarite in South Africa. I wrote the late Shembe a letter and told him I would like to be a member of his church. He did not respond, perhaps he believing I was joking – after all, this is a tribal thing! That was 1987, and hence I have watched videos of white South African women taking part in the Nazarite rituals.

The Holy Spirit of God’s Divine Justice, is where you find it! As a believer who found God’s Justice when I died, I can attest to the Truth, Trayvon did as well. He ran his race. He competed in the greatest contest known to humankind. We Nazarite Zulu salute this man who stands on hallowed ground. Trayvon plays on a field of dreams, deferred, but, for just a little while!

Amen!

Jon Presco

Oh, there were racial slurs and negative epithets depicting the duo to be sure, common of the era in a time when the Ku Klux Klan was prevalent in the state of Oregon. However the vast majority of students and fans embraced the talented Robinson and Williams, praising them for their efforts on the field and the classy manner with which they took their adverse conditions in stride.

It was in Florida where a sad reality check of the times emerged, as black players that had been accepted on the west coast found things to be far different in the south, where deep-seeded institutionalized bigotry was status quo. Robinson and Williams had carried the team for three years with their stellar play, vital pieces in Coach McEwan’s attack, particularly with Kitzmiller now out of commission they were to play prominent roles in the game against Florida.
The University of Florida however had a strict policy in place, no black athletes allowed. The Gators refused to play the game if Oregon was to field any black players, forcing Bobby Robinson and Charles Williams to skip their final game for the University of Oregon being left back at home. The Eugene community and UO administration were outraged, yet relented and reluctantly agreed to the callous request..

http://www.kval.com/news/88871417.html

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. —  On Saturday morning, John Presco could hear the fear in his neighbor’s voice as she left a message on his answering machine.
“Hello John,” said Sandy Maricle. “This is Sandy. Are you home?”
Maricle needed someone to drive her to the hospital.
“I’m in really severe pain in my leg and back,” said Maricle.
With her sciatic nerve throbbing, Maricle barely made it to the car.
“She scooted down on her butt, all the time her face is in agony,” Presco said.
A few hours later, she was released from the hospital — but had no way to get from the car to her second-story apartment.
That all changed when her neighbor, University of Oregon defensive end Terrell Turner showed up, picked Maricle up and carried her up the stairs.
“It was a God-send,” Presco said.
“I was relieved,” Maricle said. “It was like an angel.”
“He was so kind and gentle and just the perfect good Samaritan,” Maricle said.
It’s not the first time this Duck has done a good deed. A few weeks ago, another neighbor needed help carrying a TV up three flights of stairs.
“We got it all the way up so thank God,” Turner said.
Turner said the acts of kindness are inspired by his passion for his family in California.
“I’m just making sure I can help out as if my mom was around to help,” Turner said.
Now, he’s helping his extended family here in Oregon.
“I think a lot of him,” Maricle said.

Oregon’s first black student-athletes: leading the charge towards victory and equality
Reported by Kurt Liedtke on February 13, 2012 inDuckTales, FishWrap, FishWrap Archive | 0 Comments

Eugene, Oregon, despite its predominantly white demographic, has long been a place proud of its diversity and equality. “Keep Eugene Weird” is the popular common slogan used today, though a place where people are allowed to be themselves judged by their actions not the color of their skin or other unfortunate societal misconceptions and stereotypes of the past shouldn’t be a weird concept but a welcome one. Though not without its occasional unfortunate checkered marks in the history books, Eugene has overwhelmingly been a welcoming place for people of all backgrounds to gather uninhibited by their differences.

Bobby Robinson and Charles Williams, the first two black athletes at the University of Oregon
So too is this true in the history of University of Oregon athletics, where from an early era long before it was deemed popular did the Webfoots feature black athletes. With February being Black History Month, it seems proper to focus on the trailblazers at Oregon; Robert Robinson and Charles Williams, the first two African-American athletes to compete at the University of Oregon.

As organized collegiate and professional sports began to emerge in the later half of the 19th century, black athletes were involved from early on. The first professional black baseball player was Moses Fleetwood Walker in 1884, 63 years before Jackie Robinson broke the 20th century color barrier. Charles W. Follis, better known as “The Black Cyclone,” was the first African-American professional football player, a key cog with the Shelby Blues from 1902-1906 of the Ohio League.

When the NFL was established in 1920, nine black players appeared on rosters, including Frederick Douglass Pollard. “Fritz” Pollard is in both the College Football Hall of Fame and NFL Hall of Fame for his efforts, both on the field and in overcoming adversity. Pollard was the first black head coach in professional football, leading the Akron Pros in 1921 as a player/coach. After him there would not be another black head coach until Art Shell was hired by the Los Angeles Raiders in 1990. Pollard also holds the distinction of being the first black athlete to play in the Rose Bowl, when his Brown University team lost to Washington State in 1916, only the second Rose Bowl game ever held (then known as the ‘East-West Tournament Game’).

In fact, black athletes’ involvement in college football stretches back even further, predating the professional sports pioneers. In 1892 William H. Lewis became the first black college football player named to the All-American team, a standout at Harvard. That same year, the first game was played between two black colleges, a 5-0 victory by Biddle College (now known as Johnson C. Smith University) over Livingstone College. However, college and professional sports remained predominantly white, societal injustices and pressures of the day often unfairly barring them from regular participation.

While many African-Americans had been active contributors to athletics in the 19th century, something changed in the early stages of the 20th as many sports barred blacks from participation, while other organized sports simply frowned upon it. By 1934 there were no black athletes left in the NFL, nor would any return until 1946 when the Rams, desiring to leave Cleveland for the sunny confines of Los Angeles, signed an agreement to play their games in the Coliseum, grudgingly accepting a clause in the contract stipulating that the team MUST be integrated if they are to call Los Angeles home. Thus with the signing of Kenny Washington and Woody Strode, both UCLA players, the barrier had been broken in the NFL, a year before Jackie Robinson did the same in baseball.

College football did not experience the same kind of outright banishment that professional sports did, however it was not exempt from blatant racism either. Black collegiate athletes were the exception, not the norm. Alabama was the last holdout, not permitting a single black scholarship student-athlete until 1970 when Bear Bryant signed Wilbur Jackson. Within three years, one third of the Crimson Tide’s football roster was comprised of black athletes.

Head Coach John McEwan led Oregon from 1926-1929
While the University of Oregon was not the first school to feature black student-athletes, in the greater scheme of things amidst the unfortunate inequality that permeated the nation prior to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, Oregon was far ahead of the curve.

In 1926 two Portland, OR residents came to Eugene for their academic and athletic pursuits, Robert “Bobby” Robinson and Charles Williams. They were recruited by new Oregon head coach John J. McEwan, an All-American in 1914 at Army, the school where he later coached 1923-25.

At the time freshmen were not allowed to play on the varsity team, so McEwan would have to wait a year for Robinson and Williams to shine on the field, the first two black athletes at the University of Oregon.

Charles Williams was one of the first black student-athletes at Oregon
Robinson was a multi-sport star at Jefferson High School in Portland, a gifted halfback on the gridiron and pole-vaulter on the track, as well as baseball and basketball. Williams meanwhile was a bruising runner in his own right coming from Washington High School in Portland. Both were high school friends and rivals, both selected First Team All-City their senior years, and both packing the stands at Multnomah Field on gamedays with eager fans fanatically following their athletic performances.

Together, the two of them would help Coach McEwan usher in a new era at Oregon, both in success on the field and in a far more important way off of it, paving the path for other minority student-athletes to compete at the University of Oregon.

It was not without its difficulties though, as both Robinson and Williams were initially barred from living in campus dorms, having to find housing in off-campus apartments during their freshman year. Their white teammates signed a petition and submitted it to the school under protest demanding that their fellow players be allowed to live on campus in the dormitories alongside their peers. By their sophomore year the university relented, allowing Robinson and Williams to reside in Friendly Hall, albeit separated from others and permitted to enter the building only through their own designated entrance. On road trips too they were segregated from the rest of the team, not permitted to stay in the team hotel, though Williams later confirmed that despite the separate living quarters both managed to mingle with their fellow students and teammates just fine. Often on road trips after check-in at a hotel their white teammates would sneak them into the hotel anyway to stay with the rest of their fellow Webfoots.

Change was afoot at the UO, not only in accepting black athletes, but also in name. Oregon had long been nicknamed “The Webfoots,” but a student vote would give way in 1927 to a new identity: the Oregon Ducks, selected over other choices such as “Timberwolves” and “Fighting Lumberjacks.” Change too occurred in appearance, as the blue and occasionally purple colors that often adorned Oregon’s uniforms were dropped in favor of green and yellow attire. Around campus a handful of students were creating the first ever student-made full length film thanks to some cameras on loan from Hollywood, a silent movie titled “Ed’s Coeds.”

However, success on the field did not immediately follow. The first two seasons were not kind to Coach McEwan, as the glory days of years past under Coaches Hugo Bezdek and Shy Huntington had led into rough times for the Webfoots. Unable to hang onto their prominent position of west coast powerhouse after Huntington resigned, Oregon was not drawing quality talent to the program the way they once had. Since Huntington’s departure after the 1923 season, Oregon had faded into down years under coaches Joe Maddock and R.S. Smith (Smith had previously coached Oregon in 1904 as well) managing to muster only a 7-11-5 record.

Robert “Bobby” Robinson in 1927, Oregon’s first black quarterback
Handed a relatively bare cupboard, Coach McEwan did something revolutionary for the time, going even beyond having black athletes on the roster. With Robinson and Williams on the team ready for the 1927 season, McEwan chose to place both at quarterback, putting the ball in the hands of his gifted athletes. In fact Williams and Robinson were used all over the field to maximize their talents. Robinson played quarterback, halfback, receiver, defensive back, and returned punts and kickoffs. Williams played fullback, halfback, quarterback, and defensive back.

Not only were Robinson and Williams the first African-American student-athletes at the University of Oregon, but excluding black colleges, Robinson and Williams may in fact have been the first African-Americans to ever play quarterback at a major college, though a lack of substantial records prevents 100% confirmation of this. It would be decades until the concept of a black athlete playing quarterback would be considered acceptable, the ignorant stereotypes associated with the intangibles of the position, thought to be too complex for black athletes to handle, were thankfully shattered with record-setting hall of fame careers by legends like Warren Moon and Randall Cunningham in the 1980s and 90s.

Coach McEwan wanted to win, and had proven himself a winner at Army before joining Oregon. He was determined to do so by any means necessary, regardless of any social stigmas associated with placing black players at the forefront of his teams leading the charge in a prominent position like quarterback. The best way to success in McEwan’s mind was to put the ball every play in the hands of his best athletes, and in 1927 clearly Robinson and Williams were the cream of the crop.

Robert “Bobby” Robinson, Oregon’s first multi-sport black athlete
1927 started off well enough with the Portland duo on the field with the varsity team for the first time. Wins over Linfield and Pacific had the Oregon Webfoots/Ducks thinking that the tide of recent losing had turned, but a 0-0 tie to Idaho followed by four straight losses to end the season dashed those hopes. Despite the 2-4-1 season, Robinson and Williams shined in their roles of team leaders, regardless of their ethnicity and the opinions of some biased outside observers.

1928 brought a remarkable turnaround and return to national attention for Oregon, led by a new addition from far off Harrisburg, PA, John Kitzmiller, who earned the nickname “The Flying Dutchman.” Kitzmiller would take over the reigns at quarterback that season, moving Robinson full-time into the backfield alongside Williams, though due to political pressure they rarely lined up on the field at the same time.

John Kitzmiller became a 2nd team All-American at Oregon
With the 1-2 combo of Williams and Robinson as ball carriers and the direction of Kitzmiller, Oregon put together a 9-2 campaign, succumbing only to Stanford and Cal. It was the first time in school history that nine wins had been reached, a feat that would not be surpassed until Oregon racked up 10 victories in 2000.

The Ducks ended the 1928 season with two victories in Hawaii, first against a non-collegiate all-star team on Christmas Day, followed up a week later by a win over Hawaii, 6-0. The triumphant win in the tropics earned Oregon the title “Champion of the mid-Pacific,” a moniker given the team during the national radio broadcast of the game, a rare live event for the era.

With Kitzmiller leading the way and the talented Robinson/Williams duo pounding the rock, Oregon had amassed more points in their 45-0 opening day victory over Pacific than they had accumulated all of the previous year. However some in the community had objections to both Robinson and Williams being on the field at the same time, and Coach McEwan often had to grudgingly adhere to pressure from the administration to abide by these unfortunate requests.

Oh, there were racial slurs and negative epithets depicting the duo to be sure, common of the era in a time when the Ku Klux Klan was prevalent in the state of Oregon. However the vast majority of students and fans embraced the talented Robinson and Williams, praising them for their efforts on the field and the classy manner with which they took their adverse conditions in stride.

While Kitzmiller had become the face of the program’s return to relevance, it was Robinson and Williams at the forefront of the fireworks. In the fourth game of the 1929 season while hosting Washington, exactly 65 years and two days before Kenny Wheaton made his legendary interception against the hated Huskies, Bobby Robinson made a nearly identical play, intercepting a pass at the goal line and returning it down the sideline for what would have been an easy touchdown unopposed…had Washington player Larry Westweller not come off the bench onto the field to tackle Robinson as he streaked down the sideline. Referees awarded Robinson a touchdown anyway, and the Ducks cruised to a 27-0 victory.

Bobby Robinson was an instant do-everything star for the Oregon Ducks
Expectations were very high for the 1929 campaign at Oregon with the trio of Robinson/Williams/Kitzmiller, many thought that the Ducks could win the Pacific Coast Conference title earning a trip to the Rose Bowl. Alas they could not get past Stanford, racking up a 6-1 conference record heading into the last three games of the season vs. Hawaii, St. Mary’s, and Florida. Worse still, Kitzmiller had broken his leg the week prior vs. Oregon Agricultural College (now Oregon State), though the Ducks had managed to end their 3-game losing streak to the hated OAC with a 16-10 victory in the Civil War.

With Kitzmiller out for the rest of the season, it fell back to Bobby Robinson and Charles Williams to pick up the slack, leading the team through the final three games. A 7-0 victory over Hawaii at home had the team at 7-1 thanks to an impressive defensive effort, but the good times would not last. Oregon suffered a 31-6 loss to St. Mary’s, a powerhouse at the time given the nickname “the Notre Dame of the west,” though the 6-points scored by Oregon were the only points given up all season by St. Mary’s. Licking their wounds, Oregon traveled cross-country by train for the final game of the season to play the Florida Gators in Miami. It was there that the season would end on both a sad and shameful note.

It was in Florida where a sad reality check of the times emerged, as black players that had been accepted on the west coast found things to be far different in the south, where deep-seeded institutionalized bigotry was status quo. Robinson and Williams had carried the team for three years with their stellar play, vital pieces in Coach McEwan’s attack, particularly with Kitzmiller now out of commission they were to play prominent roles in the game against Florida.

The University of Florida however had a strict policy in place, no black athletes allowed. The Gators refused to play the game if Oregon was to field any black players, forcing Bobby Robinson and Charles Williams to skip their final game for the University of Oregon being left back at home. The Eugene community and UO administration were outraged, yet relented and reluctantly agreed to the callous request.

Without Robinson and Williams, Oregon was inept against the Gators, losing 20-6, leaving Oregon without a post-season bowl to attend. The Florida heat may have had something to do with Oregon’s sub-par performance as well as the absence of Robinson and Williams, as many of the Oregon players chose to play the game with their jerseys off amidst the humidity of the deep south.

Coach John McEwan called Charles Williams “the toughest man I ever met…”
Not only would the Florida loss be the end of Robinson and Williams’ playing careers at Oregon, but it also marked the end of McEwan’s tenure. Following multiple clashes over forced restrictions on playing time for Robinson and Williams, with a year left on his contract the University of Oregon bought out the remainder of his deal, choosing to bring in C.W. Spears from Minnesota.

Under Spears in 1930 Kitzmiller would earn 2nd team All-American status and tackle George Christensen would be named a 1st team All-American, only the second Oregon player to earn such distinction. Kitzmiller was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1969.

Following the 1929 season, Bobby Robinson was named third team all-Pacific Coast Conference halfback. While Bobby Robinson’s football days were done, he continued to compete in track & field and other sports, including a first place tie for the conference championship in the pole vault. He had a stellar career competing in track & field in Canada, before eventually settling in Los Angeles where he became a social activist in his later years. Charles Williams meanwhile returned to Portland where he married, and worked in a warehouse.

Bobby Robinson was also a standout pole-vaulter at Oregon
Whatever feats of athletic prowess Robert “Bobby” Robinson and Charles Williams accomplished on the field, it was just as important to the future of the University of Oregon how they carried themselves off of it. Coach McEwan referred to Charles Williams as “the toughest man I ever met,” for his strength on and off the field amidst adverse times. Their efforts at Oregon paved the way so that others too may follow, unimpeded by societal barricades aimed at keeping minorities from being on a level playing field with their white counterparts.

Bobby Robinson at a 1930 golf tournament. From left to right: Wally Boyle, unidentified, Art Schoeni, Bobby Robinson, Faulkner Short.
Their efforts paved the way for other black athletes to shine at the University of Oregon.

Joe Lillard, 3-sport star at Oregon, seen here playing for the Chicago Cardinals
In 1931 Oregon was led by “The Midnight Express,” a trio of runningbacks that included Joe Lillard, one of the last black players in the NFL prior to the 1946 Rams, contributing for two seasons with the Chicago Cardinals prior to the ban on African-American players following the 1933 season. Lillard also played on the Oregon basketball and baseball teams.

In the 1940s Bob Reynolds played for Oregon in 1942, before leaving to fight in World War II, and upon the end of the war returned to Eugene to continue his football career for the ‘45 and ‘46 seasons. His nephew Walt S. Reynolds would also attend Oregon, playing three sports as a Duck; first as Dan Fouts backup QB on the 1969 freshmen team, then a 4-year letterman at Oregon as a guard for the basketball team and playing two seasons of baseball.

Bob Reynolds was a standout RB at Oregon in 1942, and again after WWII in 1945, 46
In 1948 and 1949, Woodley Lewis, a transfer from Los Angeles City College, would shine as Oregon’s star halfback. In 1949 the Ducks would play in the Cotton Bowl, with Woodley Lewis named team MVP.

Woodley Lewis, the first black athlete selected in the NFL draft
In 1950, Lewis became the first African-American selected in the NFL draft. Lewis remains Oregon’s single-season and career record-holder in kickoff return average (43.2 and 34.1 yards per attempt respectively), and holds the records for the longest punt and kickoff returns in school history.

Many others would follow, as by the 50s seeing black athletes donning the yellow and green of Oregon was common. Willie West and Alden Kimbrough among others would help lead the efforts of the scrappy 1957-58 Oregon Ducks as they fought valiantly with #1-ranked Ohio State in the Rose Bowl, losing 10-7.

A decade later Bobby Moore (now Ahmad Rashad) would become a star at Oregon, eventually becoming the third overall selection in the NFL draft in 1973. In 1979-80, quarterback Reggie Ogburn would be the one-man human highlight reel, leading Oregon in passing and rushing both seasons.

The University of Oregon may not have been the very first school to openly embrace student-athletes regardless of ethnicity, but starting in 1926 it emerged as one of the leaders in the path towards equality. While some parts of the country lagged far behind marred in racism and unfair stereotypes about what black athletes could and could not do, African-Americans and other minorities were welcomed to come participate on an even level of competition at Oregon as student-athletes, bucking pre-Civil Rights Movement socio-economic trends. That proud aspect associated today with Oregon, of embracing equality and the spirit of individuality, was a path set in motion long ago thanks in large part to Bobby Robinson and Charles Williams.

Today University of Oregon athletics feature student-athletes of all discernible backgrounds. Athletes come from all over the globe to train in Tracktown U.S.A., to compete at Hayward Field in the Prefontaine Classic and other events, while the athletic program benefits from the talents of athletes of all ethnicities, creeds, and other differences once thought unacceptable to be mixed on campuses across the country.

At the University of Oregon, truly the only colors that matter today are green and yellow…and black, and steel matte, and grellow; and whatever other fluorescent rainbow uniform combinations may be unleashed in the future. Oregon is a place of innovation and forward-thinking, spurred by the sense of family within the program and universal acceptance in the community. For the present and future grand accomplishments to come at the U of O, we all owe a debt of gratitude to those who have come before, in particular the incredible talents and groundbreaking courage displayed by Bobby Robinson and Charles Williams.

Photos provided courtesy of University of Oregon Knight Library special collections

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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