Ernie Davis

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A three-time All-American halfback and 1961 Heisman Trophy winner, Ernie Davis would go on to win MVP title in both the Cotton Bowl and the Liberty Bowl, and was inducted into the College Football Hall Of Fame in 1979. He was the first African American man to win the Heisman Trophy, and to be picked 1st overall in the NFL draft. His career was cut short when he was diagnosed with cancer in 1962.

Athlete. American Football player. Ernie Davis was born on December 14, 1939 in New Salem, Pennsylvania, USA. He is the first African American man to win the Heisman Trophy and the first black athlete to be chosen 1st overall in the NFL Draft.

A three-time All-American halfback and 1961 Heisman Trophy winner, Davis set yardage and scoring records at Syracuse University. He would go on to win MVP title in both the 1960 Cotton Bowl and the 1961 Liberty Bowl, and would be inducted into the College Football Hall Of Fame in 1979. His honors and accomplishments on the gridiron were matched only by his adversity off the field; As a black athlete playing many games in the south, he was the victim of racism on several occasions. The most publicized incident occurred when he was selected as the Cotton Bowl MVP in 1960. Davis was told by organizers that he would be allowed to accept his award at the post game banquet, and would immediately have to leave the segregated facility. Ernie refused to receive the award, and his entire team agreed to boycott the banquet. A man of firsts, Ernie Davis was the first African American man to win the Heisman Trophy, the first to join the prestigious Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity (a nationally recognized Jewish fraternity) and, in 1962, became the first African American player to be picked 1st overall in the NFL draft.

Tragic Death

Although the details are somewhat disputed, Davis' contract was considered to be the most lucrative ever offered to an NFL rookie. His teammates and supporters looked forward to seeing Ernie sharing the...
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