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Ohio to Honor First Black Professional Football Player

Follis has been honored with a placard at the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Ohio is honoring the “Black Cyclone.” Gov. John Kasich has signed legislation designating Feb. 3 as Charles Follis Day, recognizing the country’s first black professional football player.

Follis, who was born on Feb. 3, 1879, in Virginia, grew up in Wooster. He helped organize the first varsity football team at Wooster High School in 1899. His white schoolmates elected him captain, and Wooster had an undefeated season.

After graduation, Follis played with an amateur Wooster team. But in 1904, he signed a contract with the Shelby (Ohio) Blues of the American Professional Football Association.

Please select this link to read the complete article from The Akron Beacon Journal.

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