“It was evident in my first year at Akron back in 1919, that they didn’t want blacks in there getting that money. And here I was, playing and coaching and pulling down the highest salary in pro football.” Fritz Pollard (1894-1986)
The first black all-American Frederick Douglass Fritz Pollard stood 5-9, 165-pounds. He was the son of an American Native and a West Indian. Growing up in Chicago with the support of his family he defied the odds through perseverance and excellence on the football field. Fritz Pollard went on to led Brown University to the Rose Bowl in 1915. Pollard turned pro in 1920 at the dawn of the NFL. His squad the Pros finished the inaugural season undefeated and won the first NFL title.
Pollard went on to create his own NFL team the Chicago BlackHawks which played around the country until the Great Depression forced the team to fold. The halfback and coach had a truly extraordinary run.
As football days came to a close, Pollard continued to defy the popular notions of the time becoming a prominent black business man. Fritz Pollard when on to found an investment firm, a Black tabloid, an agency, movie studio, coal delivery service and more. No industry went untouched by this business tycoon and innovator. His spirit was that of a relentless athlete and his name hangs high in the halls of Brown University and the NFL Hall of Fame.