50 Years Ago Today…

larry garron and houston antwine leave new orleans

JANUARY 11, 1965 – NEW ORLEANS – American Football League players Houston Antwine (L), and Larry Garron (R), of the Boston Patriots leave their hotel 1/11 after the AFL All-Star Game was cancelled because of charges of racial discrimination by 20 Negro players. The game scheduled for 1/16 has been moved to Houston.

…One of the greatest, yet most unknown protest in professional sports took place.  On January 11, 1965, 21 African-American football players from the American Football League walked out of the City of New Orleans, refusing to take place in the all-star game because of the discrimination that they had faced.  Led by Cookie Gilchrist and Art Powell, these men stood up for their beliefs, and in doing so made a statement that helped bring about integration in the South.

Art Powell, Earl Faison, Bobby Bell, Ernie Ladd, Buck Buchanan, Clem Daniels, Abner Haynes, Dave Grayson, Willie Brown, Mack Lee Hill, Frank Buncom, Ernie Warlick, Elbert Dubenion, Sherman Plunkett, Houston Antwine, Winston Hill, Sid Blanks, Larry Garron, Butch Byrd, Cookie Gilchrist and Dick Westmoreland made a difference.

Several articles have since been written about the event.  Below you will find links to some of my favorites.

Protest of race-related slights, brought ’65 game here

Best All-Star Game Moments: Hubbell, Rose, Jackson and the Boycott Game

Former Patriots player tells Clinton students of mid-’60s boycott over racism


Todd Tobias (790 Posts)

Todd Tobias's interest in the American Football League began in 1998, when he wrote my master's thesis about Sid Gillman. He created this site to educate and entertain football fans with the stories of the American Football League, 1960-1969. You can follow Todd and get more AFL history on Twitter @TalesfromtheAFL.

4 Responses to 50 Years Ago Today…

  1. Eddie Arminio says:

    That move by the players took a ton of guts, period. The days of racial equality, stronger player unions, and an equal view of all people in America was a ways off. There should definitely a documentary or a movie made to express to people if you stand up for rights, you can move mountains.

  2. cueball says:

    Congrats for adding this article on the website. Hopefully this event will someday recieve it’s due recognition in history. It was a courageous act and it should be rememebered. I thought I heard, or read, that there was a project in the works related to this boycott in New Orleans. A documentary or movie, actually called The Stand, but nothing new. Again, nice job in highlighting this story.

  3. Matt Haddad a.k.a. overdrive1975 says:

    Special thanks goes to Jeff Miller for his excellent write-up of the boycott in his 2003 book on the AFL, Going Long. I’d never heard about the boycott until reading that book. Miller devotes an entire chapter to the story. The chapter–titled “Taken for a Ride”–ends with a quote from the Boston Patriots’ Houston Antwine. Antwine says:

    “The hostility and the treatment we received in New Orleans was never, never really publicized. I’ve talked to Cookie, and he was really ticked off about it. Right now, if you ask somebody, ‘Do you remember the AFL All-Star Game that was supposed to be played in New Orleans?’ nobody remembers what happened.”

  4. Matt Haddad a.k.a. overdrive1975 says:

    Antwine also says: “Back in Boston, there was one little blip in the paper showing me with my bag leaving the hotel. That was basically it.”

    The picture posted at the top of this article must be that photo to which Antwine is referring.

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