First two black Florida Gator football players in program history honored during endowment ceremony
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille hosted the University of Florida legends Leonard George and Willie Jackson Sr. Friday night.
More than 50 years ago, the pair put on the Gator uniform to break a racial barrier for African Americans.
“When we went in the stadium we were probably and we were obviously the only black players on the field but there were only a few maybe in the stands themselves,” said George.
Jackson said in the late 1960s, they faced many obstacles. Although, their goal was to work hard and represent their family and the university in a positive light.
“Without us, we don’t know if they would have the same success coming in and whether they would be receptive to having black players come in.”
For the second year in a row, Jackson and George were honored through an endowment funded by former players who raised $100,000 in scholarships for gator football players.
“We were the first ones to do that so this endowment means that other people will be able to do it other players will be able to do it,” said George.
And each autograph, handshake, and fan photo left a lasting memory of two trailblazing legacies.
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