All-Black football team gets championship rings 51 years later

The Houston High Indians won the state football championship in 1969.But the all-Black team received no recognition from the city of Perry or the state of Georgia. Their win was barely mentioned in the newspaper.When Houston was intergrated into all-white Perry High School in 1970, the Indians' awards were thrown in the trash.One player retrieved the trophy from a Dumpster.Each remaining team member finally received a championshilp ring during a special ceremony

Houston High Indians won in 1969, but segregation kept them from being recognized

Winning a state championship comes with a lot of recognition and celebration. Unless you’re an all-Black football team in the segregated South of 1969.

When the Houston High School Indians football team took the title in 1969, there was no parade, no city recognition, no rings. There was a trophy, but it was tossed in the trash when Houston merged with the all-white Perry High School. One of Houston’s players had to retrieve it.

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“The trophies and everything that was in that school was thrown away,” Lawrence Clarington told Channel 2 Action News. “One of the fellows that was a sophomore, he actually decided to go in the dumpster to get the trophy.”

Clarington was an eighth-grader on the team.

“I think the wrong was that we were not recognized by the school, by the board of education and by the city of Perry,” he said.

The first state championship for the city of Perry was just a footnote in the local paper, Channel 2 said.

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That changed last week, when the city held a special ceremony to present the remaining team members with the rings they should have received 51 years ago.

“I’ve been crying all morning,” Clarington told the news station. “I thought this day would never come.”