The University of Florida's Racist Legacy Runs Deep

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Alex Izaguirre
Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke breaks down the good ole boy history of the University of Florida.

The Gator nation is always acting like they are so much better than Canes nation. Florida fans and alumni are always talking smack about the Nevin Shapiro scandal. Yet all their players get arrested while all our players are going to the NFL Hall-of-Fame. The school is always making excuses for not playing the University of Miami like, "oh we play in the Southeastern Conference," or "oh we play Florida State, our real rivals." They're full of it.

As the University of Miami Hurricanes prepare to kick the crap out of the University of Florida this Saturday, I think its important to reflect on Gators' storied history as a bastion for southern racism. Located in Gainesville, the Sunshine State's Tea Party capital, the University of Florida was instrumental in preventing African Americans from getting a higher education at a state run institution during segregation.

It's no surprise this is the school that produced Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper, who was caught on camera a couple months ago at a country music concert saying he would "fight every nigger here."

Between 1945 and 1958, UF rejected 85 black students who applied for admission solely based on race. One of those pupils, Virgil Hawkins, who wanted to attend law school in Gainesville, fought his rejection all the way to the Florida Supreme Court, whose Chief Justice Stephen C. O'Connell was a self-proclaimed segregationist would later become UF president. Not surprisingly, the state's highest court refused to integrate state public universities despite finding that Hawkins had "all the scholastic, moral and other qualifications" to be a Gator.

The school didn't admit its first black undergraduate students until 1962, a year before Martin Luther King Jr.'s historic "I have a dream" speech.

Willie Jackson Sr. and Leonard George, the first black high school student-athletes to play football at UF, witnessed the discrimination at the school first hand. In 1971, when O'Connell was president, Jackson and George were among the only 343 black students at UF. At the time, the student population was more than 20,000. When the black student union staged a protest about the disparity on campus, 66 students were arrested and O'Connell insisted on pressing charges. As a result, a third of the black students and several black professors left UF.

You can read all about UF's shameful history treating blacks on the school's own website.

The racism continued through the early 1980s when Derrick Crudup Sr., at the time a heralded quarterback coming out of Boca Raton Senior High, committed to the Gators. Then-football coach Charley Pell refused to play Crudup at his position and tried to get him to switch positions because of his athleticism.

Crudup bolted out of Gainesville after Pell allegedly told him he wouldn't be accepted as a black quarterback leading a Southeastern Conference football team.

In the last decade, UF twice passed over an African-American, Charlie Strong, for the top coaching position. The defensive coordinator served as interim head coach for a bowl game in 2004, but was quickly cast aside for superstar coach Urban Meyer. Strong stayed with the Gators for five more years, molding a stout defense that helped the school win two national championships.

He expected a fair opportunity for the head coach's job once Meyer hung up his whistle. But when UF officials begged Meyer to stay on for one more year after the 2009 season, Strong saw the writing on the wall.

So he accepted the head coaching vacancy at the University of Louisville, where he's built a powerhouse. In an January 2009 interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Strong expressed his belief that race was part of the reason he wasn't offered the gig at Florida. He got the last laugh though when his Louisville Cardinals stomped the Gators in the Sugar Bowl this past Jan. 2.

The same is going to happen this Saturday when my boy Duke Johnson runs over the Gators and Canes QB Stephan Morris lights up the UF secondary. Once the 4th quarter ends, the Gators are going to run and hide again. They won't play the U for another 10 years.

I can't wait for kick-off.

Follow Luther Campbell on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

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21 comments
Frank Hollander
Frank Hollander

Luke ran for mayor...he's tryin to move on.. maybe he should go back to school and get some more book smarts. I'd like to see him move up.

battillo
battillo

the title alone is racist from someone that is obviously racist. luke sounds ignorant thinking UF was the only school following those admission practices during that time.  i like how he thinks the 40s & 50s are representative of the current UF regime. Oh by the way i am more of a minority than luke and i did not experience one iota of prejudice while at UF.  Miami still has not got what it deserves. Cane CHEATERS.

props to you UFalum88 for putting this ignorant fool in his place. LMAO how he thinks he can plagiarize someone else's work and NO ONE would notice. TYPICAL CANE and shapiro supporter.  Bash UF regardless of both sides of the story. Miami blows.... see what i did there? 

ufalum88
ufalum88

Facts:  Florida admitted it's first African-American student before Miami did.  Ray Bellamy, the first African-American player at Miami, was also offered by Florida.  Prior to 1958, a state law in Florida banned black attendance at public universities in undergraduate, graduate and professional programs.  That means Florida, FSU, etc.  It was not right, but to say UF did it and did it alone then ignore why is short sighted.

Moreover, this article was plagiarized.  See Jessica Newman's article from 2009.  It is almost word for word what Unle Luke wrote.  http://www.thefineprintuf.org/2009/02/10/therealblackhistoryofufyearsofintegration/

But then again, what do you expect from the biggest cheater in NCAA history?  How many Canes has he paid to go there?


pimking13
pimking13

Those who scream racism first tend to be the racist.

Rachel Goldberg
Rachel Goldberg

interesting... may there be peace n fairness in the world! Go Gators

Billy Gaines
Billy Gaines

I hate Miami and Obama, too. But I'm not a racist.

the1arcadia
the1arcadia

Oh, and UM has done nothing racist, ever? the whole point of writing such articles is to refute UM's "storied history" as well to strengthen your argument. smh.

and last time I checked, Gainesville is as liberal as they come. I stopped taking you seriously after your wrote "Sunshine State's Tea Party capital". riiiight.

HarryTheHandyman
HarryTheHandyman topcommenter

Another Tuesday, another shit article by Luke.  Did you fact check any of the shit you spewed this article?  I'll go ahead and just guess no.

Joey Glez
Joey Glez

Strong is doing good at Louisville for numerous reasons. Academics are crap at Louisville. Anyways can sit in class and pass. It's not like it's very difficult up there. That's why kids go there and UWV. Also he does fishy stuff and his staff does. And I'll leave it at that.

Marvin Bap Baptiste
Marvin Bap Baptiste

Its amazing that people who have sufered the least because of their race are the first to say that something is not about race. I found the article very informative. I applaud Strong for leaving UF when he was overlooked for a head coaching job. He has done an outstanding job at Louisville. I will end this by saying that although those of you who posted comments may not be racist, never once stop believing that even in late 2013, racism is still very much alive and kicking. GO CANES

Mercy Suarez
Mercy Suarez

You know...I worked at Specs back in the day...lots of white and Cuban, Puerto Rican, etc. kids bought Too Live Crew records...I didn't hear you complaining about them back then as they ponied up their cash to make you wealthy and famous....just sayin'...

Kay Ortega
Kay Ortega

As usual, this 'Uncle Luke' dude is so off. It's almost like 90% of his articles are about calling people and businesses (and the government) racist. It's becoming apparent that HE'S the one who's got issues with skin color. Why are people like this even on your payroll?!

TonySmith
TonySmith

Absolutely STUPID. This is the worst commentary I have ever read in the Miami New Times. First of all -- EVERY STATE SCHOOL IN FLORIDA WAS SEGREGATED. Why single out UF -- not sure - but state law mandated racial segregation. Also, calling Gainesville the state's Tea Party headquarters shows how ill-informed you are. Gainesville has something that Miami doesn't have -- a transgender inclusive civil rights law. You are a nutcase. 

Kyle Haines
Kyle Haines

At first I read this article and I thought it was a good read because I didnt know those facts. Then I thought about it and realized it has NOTHING to do with football, the upcoming UM game, or even the current state of racism or lackthereof at UF. This is an example of someone playing the "race card" as much as that term is overused.

Ricardo Puente
Ricardo Puente

This might be one of the stupidest articles I have ever read.

Joe Matos
Joe Matos

Keep this about football and stop with the racism remarks

ufalum88
ufalum88

Also, Stephen C. O’Connell was not Chief Justice until 1967. He did not have a vote on the Board of Control and Virgil Hawkins case. The Chief Justice at the time was Glen Terrell.

miamitrev2
miamitrev2 topcommenter

@Marvin Bap Baptiste  

Must suck living with such a jaded point of view

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