First Black football players at LSU honored by university
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - In a time where segregation was still prevalent, a special group of men found a way to break down the color barrier at one of the most historic football programs in the country.
In 1971, Lora Hinton, Jr. became the first Black scholarship football player at LSU. However, there were players and community members that were furious that he was allowed to join the team.
“All I wanted to do was to prove that I belong here,” said Hinton.
His relentless effort faced some pushback, but it eventually opened the door for other future Black athletes to join the team, including Super Bowl Champion Terry Robiskie.
Robiskie was the number one prep recruit in the nation and committed to LSU in 1973.
“Everybody was mad at me for coming to LSU. The white people didn’t want me here, and the Black people didn’t want me to come here. The Black people wanted to know, ‘why did you come to LSU? What the hell are you doing going to LSU? We don’t go to LSU.’ And the white people told me they didn’t want me,” said Robiskie.
As time passed, both Hinton and Robiskie felt it was time to reconnect.
“I told Lora, if we’re going to do it, we better do this while some of us are still here,” said Robiskie.
The idea of a reunion came to mind after death of one of their former teammates.
Hinton felt compelled to put something together after his funeral.
“I’d love to take credit for it, but there’s a higher power that had a lot to do with this,” said Hinton.
Hinton called LSU, and the university decided to honor Hinton and the first 10 Black scholarship football players.
The team received an exclusive tour around LSU’s newest football facility, and the team was greeted by Head Coach Brian Kelly.
“It’s about diversity, and inclusion, and opportunity that exists here today because of you. For me, those are trailblazers. You set that up for others and the success we’re having today is because of you,” said Kelly.
For Robiskie, this was his first-time visiting LSU since 1977.
“For us to walk on the campus today and to see the minorities, the inclusion, to see what Coach Kelly has going on with the program, to walk in the door and see someone of our complexion, it’s phenomenal,” said Robiskie.
Robiskie said the reunion is all about celebrating their time at LSU and continuing to be mentors for the younger generation.
“I just didn’t know I’d be coming here 60 years later, and LSU would be like this. It’s amazing,” said Robiskie.
The players will be honored during the LSU and Georgia State game on Saturday, Nov. 18.
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