Integration a milestone at football game


Friday, September 5th 2008, 1:18 am
By: News 9


By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY - Fifty-three years ago, Capitol Hill High School played Douglas High School at the first integrated football game in state history.

The team's met again Thursday night and acknowledged their history. Back in 1950s, blacks and whites didn't have a lot in common with the exception of football. That common ground led them to a field years before integration.

It's a notion that is hard for the starting quarterback of Capital Hill High School to comprehend, black and white gridiron greats not playing together.

"Yeah, well, I don't know. I just can't imagine that, you know?" Quarterback Michael Ware said.

Neither could his coach.

"I'm a young man and it's very hard for me to understand even though I grew up in a small town without much racial diversity," head coach Darrell Petterson said.

But that was a way of life 53 years ago. The year, 1966: Douglas High's Trojans were on 46 game winning streak until they faced the Capital Hill Redskins. The Redskins beat them in the last minute 13-6.

Even though it was the first integrated football game in the state, the press covered it like a regular game, with little to mention of race.

"It was a momentous great time. It was three years before the sit-ins and everything," Raymond Cook, a fullback for Capitol Hill in 1955 said.

Those on the field that day knew they made history.

"It went on with respect and honor for both institutions and with a lasting effect," Russell Perry,
Quarterback for Douglass in 1955 said.

It was more than a football game. It was a milestone for race relations in Oklahoma.

This is the one thing that doesn't matter, it's brings all people together of all social-economic backgrounds," Douglas head coach Willis Alexander said. "Whatever happened back then, that allowed us to play now, I'm thankful."