Integrating the Gridiron Lesson Plan . UAC Teaching American History February 6, 2013. Sugar Bowl Controversy Summary.
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1956 Sugar Bowl Controversy was the first integrated Sugar Bowl. It involved Georgia Tech v. the University of Pittsburgh. Bobby Grier (University of Pitt) was the first black player to participate. Georgia’s governor Griffin openly opposed Georgia Tech participating in an integrated sports event. Georgia Tech’s regents decided to allow the team to participate anyway. Georgia Tech won the game, 7-0 with a questionable call/penalty against Grier. This was the first Sugar Bowl that also allowed an integrated press box. The stands were also integrated with no race restrictions on tickets.
A. “The football team belongs to Georgia Tech, not to coach Dodd and he should no more be faced with the question of deciding the issue than a teacher should be called upon to the racial policy of a school system.”
Macon Telegraph, pg. 95
B. There are an abundance of broader fronts on which the issue of segregation can be fought.”
Augusta Chronicle, p. 96
1. How does this text express bias or point of view?
“To take whatever steps necessary to preserve segregation.” Gov. Marvin Griffin
“…the Negro as a fellow player with white men is quiet and unassertive; even though he may be the star of the team, he does not assume too openly to lead…the negro mingles easily with white participants, accepting inferior status and being content with it.”
William Lewis (Integrated Amherst football in 1888)
“There will be no mixing of the races in college classrooms in Georgia as long as I am governor”
Governor Marvin Griffin
“If it’s wrong now, its wrong ten years from now.”
The Gentlemen’s Agreement: That is, black players sat out of games when playing segregated opponents.
The Civil Rights movement in America was focused in the South. Other parts of aware of the events like the Emmitt Till murder, Montgomery Bus Boycott, Birmingham Church bombing and the Sugar Bowl controversy. Even though the controversy took place in Georgia , sportswriters and students took it the national level. People were forced to decide what was more important—segregation or having a winning football team which meant playing African American athletes. Becoming integrated meant giving up the Jim Crow past. It was the beginning acceptance.