The Game Changers Abner Haynes, Leon King, and the Fall of Major College Football’s Color Barrier in Texas By Jeff Miller, Foreword by Mean Joe Greene
The accepted narrative in football-crazy Texas is that racial integral came to the state’s “national sport” in the mid-1960s, generally associated with Jerry LeVias’ celebrated arrival at SMU in Dallas. But the landmark achievement actually took place quietly almost a decade earlier only about an hour north of Dallas. In the town of Denton, two black football players from Dallas’ segregated public school system boldly walked on to play for what was then called North Texas State College—known today as the University of North Texas. Abner Haynes and Leon King didn’t know what to expect, and neither their dozen or so teammates on North Texas’ freshman team.

The players’ arrival came only a few months after North Texas first welcomed a black undergraduate student in February 1956. The school worked its way through both that episode and the integration of its most public face—the football team—with no fanfare and without the hostility on campus that accompanied similar events at many other colleges and universities across the South. There were, though, tense situations when a racial integrated football team played road games in small, segregated Texas towns. Jeff Miller, a veteran Texas sports journalist, has visited with those who lived through it—from the mixed welcome that Haynes and King initially received from their white freshman brethren to those same teammates standing with them after the two blacks were denied service at eateries on the road to a squad that grew into a Bowl team.

In The Game Changers, Miller ties the tale of what happened at North Texas beginning in 1956 to contrasting events that took place not far away that reverberated into national relevance. He also chronicles the continued racial integration of major college football in Texas throughout the 1960s.

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TitleThe Game Changers
SubtitleAbner Haynes, Leon King, and the Fall of Major College Football’s Color Barrier in Texas
AuthorBy Jeff Miller, Foreword by Mean Joe Greene
PublisherSkyhorse Publishing
ImprintSports Publishing
Published25 October 2016
Dimensions6.00 x 9.00in.

About the author

Jeff Miller has been involved in sports journalism in North Texas since 1987 with stops that have included The Dallas Morning News, and This is his sixth book. Miller and his wife, Frances, live in DeSoto, Texas. They have four children.

“Bolstered by the vivid memories of the principals, this moving account provides a fresh view of turbulent times in the past.” —Library Journal

“Sometimes larger truths come from smaller stories. In The Game Changers Jeff Miller tells the story of how during the late 1950s Abner Haynes and Leon King integrated the North Texas State football team. It’s not always an uplifting, feel-good tale, but it is an honest one. Set against the harsh racism of the times, Haynes and King survived, thrived, and left their mark.” —Randy Roberts, author of A Team for America: The Army-Navy Game That Rallied a Nation, and coauthor of Rising Tide: Bear Bryant, Joe Namath, and Dixie’s Last Quarter

“We’ve become so accustomed to seeing African Americans dominate college football that we need reminders that just sixty years ago black athletes were not even allowed on college football teams in the South. There was no Jackie Robinson in college football but a collection of pioneers integrating one school and one conference at a time. Kudos to Jeff Miller for telling the story of the two young men who integrated major college football in Texas, the beginning of the end of a shameful period in football history.” —Michael Oriard, author of Bowled Over: Big-Time College Football from the Sixties to the BCS Era
ISBNs: 9781613219379 978-1-61321-937-9 Title: the game changers category:SPO ISBNs: 9781613219423 978-1-61321-942-3 Title: the game changers category:SPO 
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