Spotlight Exhibit — Football and Community at Historically Black Colleges and Universities


Location: 102 Hesburgh Library, Rare Books and Special Collections

From its origins on campus in the late nineteenth century, football at Historically Black Colleges and Universities has held a central place in the African American sporting experience, in the landscape of Black higher education, and in the broader African American community.

During the era of Jim Crow segregation, the vast majority of African American college students and student athletes attended HBCUs. Over the first half of the twentieth century, many of the yearly gridiron contests between rival HBCUs developed into highly anticipated annual events that combined football with larger celebrations of African American achievement and excellence. The yearly games brought together members of the African American community and came to include a wide range of associated events including dances, parades, musical shows, fundraising drives, and other festivities.

We are pleased to exhibit a selection of sources from the Joyce Sports Research Collection that preserve the history of HBCU football. The programs, media guides, ephemera, guidebooks, and other printed material on display document the athletic accomplishments, the celebrations, the spectacle, and the community-building that accompany football at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

This exhibit is curated by Greg Bond, Curator of the Joyce Sports Research Collection and the Sports Subject Specialist for Hesburgh Libraries. This and other exhibits within the Hesburgh Libraries are generously supported by the McBrien Special Collections Endowment.

All exhibits are free and open to the public during business hours.

Open to Undergraduates, Graduate Students, Postdocs, Faculty, Staff, Public, Alumni, & Friends.