William H. Lewis
American football player and coach, politician
William H. Lewis
William Henry Lewis was an African-American pioneer in athletics, politics and law. He was the first African-American college football player, the first in the sport to be selected as an All-American, the first to be appointed as an Assistant United States Attorney, the first to become a member of the American Bar Association, and the first to serve as United States Assistant Attorney General.
Biography
William H. Lewis's personal information overview.
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This Week: National Dog Week - Petside
Google News - over 5 years
National Dog Week was pioneered 83 years ago by Captain William Lewis Judy, a dog enthusiast who felt we ought to celebrate the military service of our canine companions as well as celebrate the ways that dogs all across our country enrich our lives
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Timmins Gold Corp. Announces Updated Reserve and Resource Estimates for the ... - MarketWatch (press release)
Google News - over 5 years
Pursuant to NI 43-101, Mr. William Lewis, B.Sc., P.Geo. and Mr. Mani Verma, M.Eng., P.Eng., both of Micon International Ltd, (Micon), of Toronto, Ontario are the independent Qualified Persons responsible for the Mineral Reserve and Mineral Resource
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A very happy Kings football team with its Island Cup trophy. - PNW Local News
Google News - over 5 years
Kings quarterback Miles Harlow controlled the offense, ran for the first touchdown and connected with receivers William Lewis, Jordan Randolph and Aiden Kruse for impressive yardage in the first half struggle while the Kings' stingy defense kept the
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Addition to local firehouse celebrated - Reminder Newspapers
Google News - over 5 years
(Lr) Windsor Fire Chief William Lewis, Town Councilor Ronald Eleveld and Analise Eleveld, 14. The Elvelds toured the renovated Hayden Station on Sept. 10. Photos by Gregory A. Scibelli On Sept
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Thelma E. Rock - The Star Democrat
Google News - over 5 years
... Jessica and Joshua Golden, Rachel Engle, Philip Engle and his wife Caylynn, and Gary Engle; the devoted sister of Belly Brennan, James Lewis and the late John V. Lewis Jr. and William Lewis; and dear step-grandmother of Lisa Hill and Kris Donaghy
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Eston William Lewis - Hartselle Enquirer
Google News - over 5 years
Funeral for Eston William Lewis, 79, of Eva will be Sun., Aug. 28, at 2 pm at Enon Baptist Church in Eva with the Rev. James Wray officiating and Peck Funeral Home directing. Mr. Lewis died Thur., Aug. 25, 2011. He was born June 8, 1932,
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M.J. Perry Jr., Legal Pioneer, Dies at 89
NYTimes - over 5 years
Matthew J. Perry Jr., who as a young lawyer had to wait in the balcony of his segregated local courthouse before a judge would hear his case, then went on to win hundreds of civil rights legal battles and to become the first black federal judge from the Deep South, died on Friday at his home in Columbia, S.C. He was 89. His family confirmed the
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Murdoch Newspaper Veterans Portray a Fully Engaged Boss
NYTimes - over 5 years
LONDON -- It was the political scoop of the year, a damning, serialized exposé in The Daily Telegraph about how British politicians were abusing their parliamentary expense accounts to pay for things like moat-cleaning and wisteria-trimming. The articles, in May 2009, shook up Parliament and shamed lawmakers. They also irritated Rupert Murdoch,
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Suspicions About Former Editor in Battle Over Story Complicate Hacking Scandal
NYTimes - over 5 years
LONDON -- On Dec. 21 last year, The Daily Telegraph was preparing to publish a blockbuster exclusive: Vince Cable, the government's business secretary, had been caught on tape boasting that he had ''declared war'' on Rupert Murdoch and would find a convenient legal excuse to block the News Corporation's bid for British Sky Broadcasting, Britain's
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St. Mary's pair sentenced to prison in robbery case - So Md News
Google News - over 5 years
Plea agreements left 24-year-old William Lewis Lawrence sentenced to serve 12 years in prison from his guilty plea to armed robbery, while 22-year-old Latece Cantelle Greer received an active sentence of four years in prison last week from her guilty
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Fleeing cops, Martinez man runs into tree - The Augusta Chronicle
Google News - over 5 years
Eric William Lewis, 23, of the 200 block of Brooks Drive, was charged with public drunkenness, a county ordinance violation. He was released from the Columbia County Detention Center Thursday after posting a $500 bond. Someone called police at about
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Newport writer probes notorious Valleys murder - South Wales Argus
Google News - over 5 years
Writer and researcher Monty Dart is investigating the 1939 murder of Pontypool landlord William Lewis, after coming across the case at the National Archives. Fifty-nine-year-old Mr Lewis, also known as Dripping Lewis, was a wealthy landowner with 70
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LEWIS v. STATE - Leagle.com
Google News - over 5 years
A jury convicted William Lewis of retaliation and sentenced him to three years' imprisonment. On appeal, Lewis argues that the evidence was legally and factually insufficient to support his conviction, and the trial court erred by sustaining the
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of William H. Lewis
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1949
    Age 80
    Lewis died in Canada of heart failure on January 1, 1949.
    More Details Hide Details He was interred at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Albright, Evan, "Three Lives of an African American Pioneer: William Henry Lewis (1868-1949)." Massachusetts Historical Review, Vol. 13, (2011) pp. 127–163 Bond, Gregory. "The Strange Career of William Henry Lewis." Out of the Shadows: A Biographical History of African American Athletes. Edited by David K. Wiggins. (Little Rock, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Press, 2006), pages 39–57.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1919
    Age 50
    In the summer of 1919, after Lewis' speech, the economic and social tensions of the postwar years erupted in numerous white racial attacks against blacks in northern and midwestern cities where blacks had migrated by the thousands and were competing with recent European immigrants; it was called Red Summer.
    More Details Hide Details
    In 1919, Lewis was one of the signatories to a call published in the New York Herald for a National Conference on Lynching, intended to take concerted action against the widespread practice of lynching and lawlessness in primarily Southern states.
    More Details Hide Details Lynching had reached what is now seen as a peak in the South around the turn of the century, the period when those states imposed white supremacy.
  • FORTIES
  • 1913
    Age 44
    Lewis's tenure as Assistant Attorney General ended with Taft's presidency in 1913, as these are political appointee positions tied to particular administrations.
    More Details Hide Details Taft recommended Lewis for appointment as a Massachusetts Superior Court judge, but the state's governor, Eugene Foss, declined to make the appointment. Lewis returned to Massachusetts and entered the private practice of law. He developed a reputation as an outstanding trial lawyer and appeared before the United States Supreme Court on more than a dozen occasions. He remained active in Republican politics while practicing law. Among his cases, he represented persons accused of bootlegging and corruption, in addition to those challenging racial discrimination. Throughout his career, Lewis was outspoken on issues of race and discrimination. After a white barber in Cambridge refused to shave Lewis, he filed a suit seeking $5,000 in damages and successfully lobbied for the passage of a Massachusetts law prohibiting racial discrimination in places of public accommodation. In 1902, Lewis delivered an address on race relations to a gathering of Amherst College alumni. Lewis called race the "transcendent problem" facing the country, referring to the recent Spanish–American War, the disfranchisement of blacks in the South by new state constitutions, and the imposition of Jim Crow, which deprived blacks of civil rights, in his remarks:
  • 1912
    Age 43
    When the ABA's executive committee voted to oust Lewis in early 1912, U.S. Attorney General George W. Wickersham sent a "spirited letter" to each of the 4,700 members of the ABA condemning the decision.
    More Details Hide Details While northern newspapers congratulated Lewis and Wickersham for their stance, a North Carolina newspaper criticized Lewis for his lack of "good manners" in refusing to resign: The insistence of William H. Lewis of Boston, now an Assistant Attorney General, that he retain his membership in the American Bar Association notwithstanding objections is due condemnation upon other grounds than those of race. He would probably not have been elected if it had been known by the majority of delegate who he was. Having thus slipped into an organization, he should offer his resignation pending a real decision of the matter. This is simply what any one elected to any manner of organization through any sort of ignorance or misapprehension is required by good manners to do. Lewis became an advocate for African Americans in the legal profession. During the fight over his removal from the ABA, Lewis published an article saying that many white men "know intimately only the depraved, ignorant, vicious negros – those who helped to keep the dockets filled." He called for blacks to train and form "an army of negro lawyers of strong hearts, cool heads, and sane judgment", to help the large number of African Americans who were "exploited, swindled and misused".
  • 1911
    Age 42
    In September 1911, Lewis faced a campaign for his ouster from the ABA.
    More Details Hide Details Though there was no racial restriction in the organization's charter, some members threatened to resign if Lewis stayed. When Lewis' name had been submitted with others by the Massachusetts Bar Association, his race had not been disclosed. The Southern white delegates said they did not know he was a negro until he entered the convention hall. Lewis refused to resign.
    In 1911, Lewis was among the first African Americans to be admitted to the American Bar Association (ABA).
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1910
    Age 41
    The Washington Evening Star concluded that the appointment of Lewis to "a higher governmental position than any heretofore given to a colored man" would result in a confirmation battle with southern Democrats. An Illinois paper mistakenly reported in December 1910 that opposition to Lewis was so strong that Taft had decided not to place his appointment before the Senate.
    More Details Hide Details But, Taft did not withdraw the nomination, and a Georgia newspaper predicted a "Hard Fight Is Coming" on the nomination: After a two-month fight against him waged by the Southern Democratic block (Southern states had disfranchised most blacks at the turn of the century and white Democrats dominated southern politics), the Senate confirmed Lewis as an Assistant Attorney General in June 1911. After being sworn into office, Lewis went to the White House, where he personally thanked President Taft for the high honor. Lewis' initial assignment was to defend the federal government against all Indian land claims. Lewis was a frequent caller at the White House and regularly attended White House functions during the Taft administration.
    In October 1910, President William Howard Taft announced he would appoint Lewis as an United States Assistant Attorney General, sparking a national debate.
    More Details Hide Details A North Carolina newspaper wrote that the "Lucky Colored Man" would hold the "Highest Public Office Ever Held by One of His Race." The appointment was reported to be "the highest office in an executive branch of the government ever held by a member of that race." The Boston Journal wrote that Lewis had received "the highest honor of the kind ever paid to a negro," such that he then ranked in "a position of credit and influence second only to that occupied by Booker T. Washington.”
    When Lewis was appointed as an Assistant Attorney General in 1910, it was reported to be "the highest office in an executive branch of the government ever held by a member of that race."
    More Details Hide Details Before being appointed as an AAG, Lewis served for 12 years as a football coach at Harvard University. During that period, he wrote one of the first books on football tactics and was considered a nationally known expert on the game.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1903
    Age 34
    In 1903 the United States Attorney for Boston Henry P. Moulton, at the direction of Roosevelt, appointed Lewis as an Assistant United States Attorney in Boston; he was the first African American to be an Assistant US Attorney.
    More Details Hide Details His appointment was reported in newspapers across the country. Some wrote that the appointment was an effort by Roosevelt to show that "his championing of the negro is not political and is not limited to the southern states." The New York Times downplayed Lewis' race, noting, "Lewis is said to be so light in color that only his intimate friends know him to be a negro." Some wrote that Roosevelt appointed Lewis in order to keep him in Boston, where he could continue coaching the Harvard football team. The author noted that Lewis "owes his appointment to the fact that he is an uncommonly good football coach and that President Roosevelt is a Harvard man." Cornell has made several attempts to hire Lewis as its football coach. According to the story, Harvard men were "unwilling to lose Lewis's services in the football season, and they undertook to make his residence here so profitable that he would remain."
  • 1901
    Age 32
    He also was elected to the Massachusetts Legislature in 1901 for a single term, the last African American elected to that body for decades.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1900
    Age 31
    As a result of his Harvard football career, Lewis became a friend of President Theodore Roosevelt, a Harvard alumnus, and was a guest of Roosevelt's at his estate at Oyster Bay, New York in 1900.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1899
    Age 30
    Lewis entered politics by successfully running for election to the Cambridge Common Council where he served from 1899-1902.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1896
    Age 27
    Lewis developed a reputation as one of the most knowledgeable experts on the game. In 1896, Lewis wrote one of the first books on American football, A Primer of College Football, published by Harper & Brothers, and serialized by Harper's Weekly.
    More Details Hide Details Upon the book's release, one reviewer noted: In a 1904 article, The Philadelphia Inquirer placed Lewis on par with the legendary Walter Camp in his knowledge of the game, writing, "The one man whom Harvard has to match Mr. Camp in football experience and general knowledge is William H. Lewis the famous Harvard centre of the early nineties and the man who is the recognized authority on defense in football the country over." In 1905, critics of football sought to ban it from college campuses, or to alter its rules to control its violent nature. Lewis published an editorial in which he wrote, "There is nothing the matter with football.... The game itself is one of the finest sports ever devised for the pastime of youth, and the pleasure of the public." While opposing unnecessary roughness, Lewis argued against proposed changes, noting that he did not want to watch "a game of ping-pong or marbles upon the football field." Lewis asserted that football should remain "a strenuous competition, a scientific game played according to the rules of the game with vigor and force, sincerity and earnestness."
  • 1895
    Age 26
    Following law school, Lewis was hired as a football coach at Harvard, where he served from 1895 to 1906.
    More Details Hide Details During his coaching tenure, the team had a combined record of 114–15–5. The Boston Journal wrote that Lewis was owed "much of the credit for the great defensive strength Harvard elevens have always shown."
  • 1890
    Age 21
    In December 1890, the Amherst team voted "almost unanimously" to elect Lewis as the team captain for his senior year, 1891.
    More Details Hide Details He was also the class orator and the winner of prizes for oratory and debating. W. E. B. Du Bois went to the Amherst commencement ceremony to see Lewis and another African-American student receive their diplomas. After graduating from Amherst, Lewis enrolled at Harvard Law School. He played two years for the Harvard football team at the center position. An article published by the College Football Hall of Fame noted that, while Lewis "was relatively light for the position (175 pounds) he played with intelligence, quickness and maturity." He was named as the center on the College Football All-America Team in both years at Harvard. He was the first African American to be honored as an All-American,. On one occasion when Lewis and the Harvard team entered a dining hall, the Princeton University football team (which had many Southerners) rose as a group and exited in objection to the Negro player. In November 1893, Harvard's team captain was unable to play in the last game of the season due to an injury. The game was Lewis' last college football game, and the team voted him as the acting captain for the game, making him Harvard's first African-American team captain.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1868
    Born
    Lewis was born in Berkley, Virginia in 1868, the son of former slaves of European and African ancestry.
    More Details Hide Details His father moved the family to Portsmouth and became a respected minister. At age 15, Lewis enrolled in the state's all-black college, the Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute (now Virginia State University). With the assistance of Virginia Normal's president, John Mercer Langston, Lewis transferred to Amherst College, where he worked as a waiter to earn his college expenses. He also played football for Amherst for three seasons.
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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