This was a racially motivated attack on Trice and he died 2 days later. Trice was only 21 years old.
John G. “Jack” Trice was a football player who became the 1st African-American athlete from Iowa State College (now Iowa State University). Trice died due to injuries suffered during a college football game against the University of Minnesota.
On October 5, 1923, the night before his second college football game, Trice wrote the following in a letter on stationery at a racially segregated hotel in Minneapolis/St. Paul (the letter was later found in Trice’s suit just before his funeral):
“My thoughts just before the first real college game of my life: The honor of my race, family & self is at stake. Everyone is expecting me to do big things. I will. My whole body and soul are to be thrown recklessly about the field tomorrow. Every time the ball is snapped, I will be trying to do more than my part.
On all defensive plays I must break through the opponents’ line and stop the play in their territory. Beware of mass interference. Fight low, with your eyes open and toward the play. Watch out for crossbucks and reverse end runs. Be on your toes every minute if you expect to make good. —Jack.”
THE GAME: On October 6, 1923, Trice and his Iowa State College teammates played against the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
During the second play of the game, Trice’s collarbone was broken. Trice insisted he was all right and returned to the game. In the third quarter, while attempting to tackle a University of Minnesota ball carrier by throwing a roll block, Trice was trampled by 3 Minnesota players.
Although he claimed to be fine, Trice was removed from the game and sent to a Minneapolis hospital. The doctors declared him fit to travel and he returned by train to Ames with his teammates.
On October 8, 1923, Trice died from hemorrhaged lungs and internal bleeding as a result of the injuries sustained during the game.
Iowa State dismissed all classes after 3 p.m. on October 9, 1923 in honor of Trice.
Read the full story about Jack Trice, the aftermath and his legacy at: Daily Black History Facts