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First black SWC football player is born in Groesbeck

November
13
1947

On this day in 1947, John Hill Westbrook, the first black student to play varsity football in the Southwest Conference, was born in Groesbeck, Texas. In 1965 he enrolled at Baylor University and tried out for the freshman football team as a running back. Despite racially motivated harsh treatment from some teammates and coaches, he earned an athletic scholarship. On September 10, 1966, in the fourth quarter of a game against Syracuse, Westbrook became the first black to play football in the Southwest Conference. He ran for lieutenant governor of Texas in 1978 and received 23 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary. In 1983 Westbrook died in Houston at the age of 36.

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