Neither look up to the rich, or down on the poor.
Lose, if need be, without squealing.
Win without bragging.
Be always considerate of women, children and old people.
Be too brave to lie.
Be too generous to cheat.
Take your share of the world and let other people have theirs.”
The National Football League (NFL) was formed by 11 teams in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with the league changing its name to the National Football League in 1922. “Fritz” Pollard and Bobby Marshall were the first 2 Black players to play in the NFL in 1920. In 1921 “Fritz” Pollard became the co-head coach of the Akron Pros, while still maintaining his roster position as running back also making him the 1st Black head coach in the NFL. Only 9 Black players suited up for NFL teams between 1920 and 1926. After 1926, all remaining 5 Black players left the league. Black players were always the first to be removed after every season. In 1933 the owner and president of the Washington Redskins refused to have Black athletes on his Redskins team, and reportedly pressured the rest of the league to follow suit. Marshall and the rest of the owners in the NFL agreed to ban Black players from the league. The NFL did not have another Black player until 1946. “Fritz” Pollard removed from the league in 1926 formed his own professional football team the Chicago Black Hawks in 1928 and
Herschel “Rip” Day formed the Harlem Brown Bombers with “Fritz” Pollard as head coach in 1935. Lesser known Black teams were also formed. In 1946 because of one of the greatest collegiate football players in history, Kenny Washington and the Los Angeles Coliseum commission unable to lease a segregated coliseum, the Los Angeles Rams agreed to sign Kenny Washington. The owners of the other NFL franchises strongly disagreed with this decision but the Rams weren’t finished. They signed a second Black player, Woody Strode giving them 2 Black players going into the 1946 season. The bulk of NFL teams did not sign a Black player until 1952. George Preston Marshall owner of the Washington Redskins because of a threat of civil-rights legal action finally signed a Black player in 1962. Every team in the NFL now had a Black player. The rest is……..
The short story, courtesy of the film’s website, goes… Larry Davis was a New Yorker who shot six New York City police officers on November 19, 1986, when they raided his sister’s Bronx apartment. The police said that the raid was executed in order to question Davis about the killing of four suspected drug dealers. At trial, Davis’s defense attorneys claimed that the raid was staged to murder him because of his knowledge of the involvement of corrupt police in the drug business. With the help of family contacts and street friends, he eluded capture for the next 17 days despite a massive manhunt. Davis eventually surrendered to police, and was acquitted of attempted murder charges in the police shootout case, and was acquitted of murder charges in the case involving the slain drug dealers. He was found guilty of weapons possession in the shootout case, acquitted in another murder case and was found guilty in a later murder case and was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
In 2008, Davis was stabbed to death in a fight with another inmate.
The Larry Davis case generated controversy. Many were outraged by his actions and acquittal, but others regarded him as a folk hero for his ability to elude capture in the massive manhunt, for so many years, or as the embodiment of a community’s frustration with the police, or as “a symbol of resistance” because “he fought back at a time when African-Americans were being killed by white police officers.”
Based on that true story, The Larry Davis Project gives insight into the motivations of a Bronx youth in the 1980s. At a time of police corruption, drug proliferation and rampant poverty, a young Larry Davis struggled with who he would become - thug or artist?
The feature film, which comes from Epoch Motion Pictures, is scheduled to debut sometime this year.
Check out a sneak: