Ohio Honors 1st Documented Black Pro Football Player
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The state of Ohio has approved legislation creating a day to honor the first documented, black professional football player, known by the nickname "The Black Cyclone."
Republican Gov. John Kasich signed the legislation designating Feb. 3 as Charles Follis Day. The Akron Beacon Journal reports Follis was born on Feb. 3, 1879, and grew up in Wooster — helping to organize the first varsity football team at his high school in 1899.
After graduation, Follis played with an amateur Wooster team and in 1904 he signed a contract with the Shelby (Ohio) Blues of the American Professional Football Association.
He sustained a career-ending injury a few years later and began playing baseball before he died from pneumonia in 1910 at age 31.