Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Mitch Kachun

Second Advisor

Dr. Lewis Carlson

Third Advisor

Dr. Ronald Kramer

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


While southern college football teams remained all white until the late 1960s and early 1970s, Michigan State University head football coach Duffy Daugherty formed championship teams in 1965 and 1966 by recruiting the best southern black players. While coaches in the North recruited black athletes and played them regularly by the mid-1950s, no other coach took the risks Daugherty did to integrate his teams. Duffy Daugherty's path-breaking teams broke all the rules of integrated competition and forced southern schools to reconsider their stance on segregated college football.

The ground breaking integration of black athletes in the mid-1950s and 1960s under Duffy Daugherty set the stage for the black athletes' civil rights activism in the Black Power era. At the height of the Black Power Movement, black athletes at MSU became outspoken civil rights activists, demanding more than just an opportunity to play football. Over a period of 25 years Michigan State advanced the status of African Americans in college football whereby State's black athletes transformed their newfound position of privilege into a position of power.