Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Lincoln Legends overcame enormous obstacles to make history

Florida A&M's  3-time Super Bowl winner Henry Lawrence says Lincoln helped prepare him for his pro career.  Lawrence played for the NFL Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders for 13 seasons as an offensive tackle earning 2 Pro Bowl appearances.   He was selected in the 1974 NFL draft in Round 1/Pick 19.  Video by Alan Dell

MANATEE, Florida -- The 2016 college football season will mark the 50th anniversary of Ray Bellamy’s signing with the University of Miami.

A historic moment changed the landscape of college football in the country forever. With his signature, Bellamy became the first African-American to play football for a major college program in the Southeastern United States.

In a short time, it opened the floodgates for talented black athletes to play college football on the highest level in the only area of the country left that was closed to them.

Some may wonder how Lincoln, a small all-black high school nestled in the migrant farm area of Manatee County in those days, became the epicenter of a movement that would forever alter the landscape of college football.

In the coming weeks, the Bradenton Herald will highlight some of the people who helped put the school on the map.

It’s impossible to write about everyone, but Lincoln, devoid of the amenities that the all-white schools had at the time, showed a remarkable resiliency and wherewithal to conquer enormous odds.

Ray Bellamy is the face of this movement, but he will tell you, it was a collective effort. The coaches and teachers and current and former players at Lincoln had a camaraderie and dedication to each other that enabled them to succeed despite numerous roadblocks. They had a true brotherhood in every sense of the word.


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