Texas Black History Preservation Project
1107 Lavaca Street, Suites 110–212
Austin, TX 78701
Michael Hurd was born in Texarkana, Texas and grew up in Houston. He is an Air Force Vietnam veteran and holds a degree in journalism from The University of Texas at Austin. He has worked as a sports writer at the Houston Post, the Austin American-Statesman, and USA Today. His two books are Black College Football, 1892–1992 (2000) and Collie J. Grambling’s Man With the Golden Pen (2007), a biography of Grambling State University’s legendary publicist who became the first-ever African American combat correspondent for the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. He has also researched and written about African American roles in the U.S. armed forces. He is currently co-editor-in-chief for the Texas Black History Preservation Project, which is documenting almost five hundred years of African American presence in Texas.
Football programs at historically black colleges began in 1892 in Salisbury, North Carolina. These programs grew during the era of segregation, when black colleges were the only realistic options for African American athletes and students. They produced some of the greatest coaches, players, and teams in college football history, including Grambling State University coach Eddie Robinson and NFL greats from Grambling’s Tank Younger to Mississippi Valley State’s Jerry Rice.
In the Deep South, it was forbidden to teach slaves to read or write, so in the post-bellum South, colleges began to sprout with the specific mission of educating four million freed slaves. From Maryland to East Texas, black colleges quenched the thirst for education among African Americans freed from bondage. This presentation explores how and why the schools came to be and the people behind them, with particular focus on historically black colleges and universities in Texas. The presentation also examines the debate over whether these schools are still needed.
From Crispus Attucks to the Buffalo Soldiers to Colin Powell, African Americans have served their country in conflicts both foreign and domestic. However, they were not always welcomed by the Defense Department or the white public to wear the uniforms and assume combat duties or leadership roles. This presentation explores the historically contentious relationship between the U.S. armed services and the African American community, which for many years felt that displays of patriotism and serving their country would make for better opportunities and equal rights.