Today's Tidbit... All American: The Power of Sports
A new exhibit, All American: The Power of Sports, opens Friday at the Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery of the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC. Its four-month run ends January 7, 2024.
I am attending a pre-opening reception tonight due to my research uncovering the story behind the 1920s West Point Cavalry Detachment football teams.
As regular readers know, that story began with a National Archives press release and a Washington Post article concerning photographs found by a National Archives researcher showing an all-Black football team posed in West Point's Michie Stadium. The pictures are notable because West Point did not have Black players on its roster until 1966.
The Washington Post story did not identify the individual players, their white coaches, or the teams they played.
My research identified some individual players, each white officer, and profiled their typical opponents. Finding photographs of 1928, 1929, and 1930 teams aided the profiling effort, but the capstone was locating the Cavalry Detachment's championship trophy awarded for the 1929 West Point Enlisted Men's football league. It is the earliest known championship trophy awarded to an all-Black team facing otherwise all-White competition.
The trophy, the team images, and other items are part of the display at the All American exhibit.
If you are in the Washington, DC area in the next sixteen months, please check out the exhibit and spend a few minutes at the Cavalry Detachment display. You can also read the full story of the Cavalry Detachment research starting here.
Many members of the 1925-1926 team and others remain unidentified, and information is limited for others on the 1928 to 1930 teams. If your African-American ancestor served at West Point from 1925 to 1930, please review the team pages to see if he is among those pictured. You may contribute to the research or learn something new about your relative.
Click the following links to see the information about each team player and coach.
1925-1926 team | 1928 team | 1929 team | 1930 team
To whet your appetite, pictures of the 1928, 1929, and 1930 teams are below.
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