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Still Running : My Life as the First Black Football Player in the SEC - Nathaniel Northington

Still Running

My Life as the First Black Football Player in the SEC

By: Nathaniel Northington, Gerald L. Smith, La Monte McNeese

Hardcover | 5 March 2024

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More than fifty years ago, Nathaniel "Nate" Northington changed the face of sports as the first African American to play college football in the Southeastern Conference. When this trailblazing athlete stepped onto the field for the University of Kentucky vs. Ole Miss game on September 30, 1967, he played not only for his team, but for his best friend and roommate Greg Page, whose tragic death pushed Northington further into the spotlight - and into the fight for equality.

In Still Running: My Life as the First Black Football Player in the SEC, Northington recounts how he and other African American football players fought on the gridiron throughout the civil rights movement to achieve success both on and off the field. Northington shares the story of his life - growing up in hardworking, self-reliant neighborhoods, first in Louisville's "Little Africa" and later in Newburg; the strong, supportive foundation provided by his parents; and the events of his childhood that forged in him a desire to confront racial injustice and violence. His athletic ability, character, and scholastic achievement took him to the front lines of the fight, compelling Kentucky Governor Ned Breathitt and UK president John Oswald to select him to help lead the way for integration in Kentucky college football. Northington reveals what life was like in the locker room and on campus, and how his brotherly friendship with Greg Page - also a Black member of UK's 1966 freshman team - and subsequently Page's devastating death, propelled him forward in his goal of integrating the SEC.

Containing new material and an updated history addressing the ongoing racial justice movement, Northington's story is about more than integration within college football - it is an honest and inspirational testament to a life defined by faith, strength, resilience, and determination.

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