We’ve all heard about the accomplishments of Jackie Robinson, who broke the major league baseball color barrier in 1947.
But the name of the man who earned the nick name “The Black Cyclone” is much less recognizable.
Charles Follis was born and raised in Wooster, right here in Ohio.
He was the first black player to suit up for a professional football team in the U.S. when he started playing in 1904 for the Shelby Ohio Blues of the old American Professional Football Association.
Injury cut his career short after just a couple of years, and pneumonia claimed his life at the age of just 31 about 6 years later.
Follis is buried in Wooster Cemetery.
The Ohio General Assembly is seeking to give Follis some of the recognition he deserves.
Last week they designated his birthday, October 3rd, as Charles Follis Day in Ohio.
It’s recognition that, it seems to me, is long overdue.
That’s the way I see it.