Photo credits: The Bettman Archive
Ernie Davis (pictured) was an American college football player who played the halfback position. He won the Heisman Trophy on November 28, 1961, and was its first African-American recipient.
Davis played college football for Syracuse University and was the first pick in the 1962 NFL Draft. He was selected by the Washington Redskins of the National Football League (NFL) in December 1961. However, almost immediately, he was traded to the Cleveland Browns and issued the number 45.
Davis was diagnosed with leukemia in the summer of 1962 and died less than a year later at age 23. He never got the chance to play in a professional game. Davis was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1979. He was the subject of the 2008 Universal Pictures film The Express: The Ernie Davis Story.
This film was based on the non-fiction book Ernie Davis: The Elmira Express, by Robert C. Gallagher.
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*BlackThen.com writer and historian Victor Trammell edited and contributed to this report.