Jim Blackburn headshot

Jim Blackburn

Albemarle High School

I don’t know of any specific rules that anyone would have written down or codified in some way.  Certainly, there were pressures.  There were intimations.  There were suggestions regarding recruitment of African Americans.  I think the university — and this was my dad’s take on it — the university wanted to attract African Americans — didn’t really know how — and thought that perhaps athletics would be a good way to do that.  So, there was some, I think, subtle pressure on my dad to get some African American student athletes playing football because that was a very public, opened kind of way that the university could say, look, look what we’re doing.  And that was fine with dad.  He wanted to have them because that opened up another pool of athletic ability for him.  And at the same time, though, there were some sometimes not so subtle pressures from alumni who said, “Don’t you dare start getting Black athletes on our football team.”