Sep 28, 2022 - Sports

Fritz Pollard getting his due from Lane Tech

A flyer promoting "Fritz Pollard Day" showing a man throwing a football.

Flyer courtesy of Lane Tech Alumni Association

More than a year after Lane Tech College Prep dropped its use of "Indian" as a mascot, the school is renaming its athletic field after a groundbreaking alum.

Driving the news: Lane is dedicating the field to Fritz Pollard, a largely unsung 1912 alum who became the first Black professional quarterback and coach.

What's more: An NFL Hall of Famer, Pollard was the first Black player in the Rose Bowl, representing Brown University.

  • He later started the first Black-owned tabloid, The New York Independent, and founded a talent agency where he represented Paul Robeson and Lena Horne.
  • Pollard also created two independent football teams, the Chicago Black Hawks and Harlem Brown Bombers, to give exposure to Black football players.

What they're saying: "We couldn't be more excited for Fritz Pollard to finally get even a fraction of the recognition he deserves," Michelle Weiner of the Lane Tech Alumni Association, which led the Pollard renaming effort, tells Axios.

If you go: The pregame rededication ceremony starts at 11am Saturday featuring Pollard's grandson and an unveiling of plaques detailing the alum's achievements.

What's next: Weiner hopes the Pollard dedication will bring together Lane alums who, she says, are still divided on the decision to drop the Indian mascot.

  • Meanwhile, the Rogers Park Historical Society is working to name a park at Damen and Lunt after the Pollard family.

💭 Monica's thought bubble: I come from a big Lane alum family whose brothers are split on the mascot issue.

  • But in an era when the Cleveland Indians and Washington Redskins have become the Guardians and Commanders, I think Lane can move forward, too.

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