Celebrate Black History Month with Charles Follis, the 1st Black professional football player
Charles Follis Portrait

The Importance of Charles Follis

Charles Follis holds a crucial place in black history as the trailblazing figure who shattered racial barriers in professional sports. Follis became the first African American professional football player when he joined the Shelby Blues in 1902. His groundbreaking entry into the world of football challenged prevailing racial prejudices and opened doors for future generations of black athletes. Follis’s achievements extend beyond the football field; he symbolizes resilience, determination, and the courage to defy societal norms. By breaking through racial barriers, he paved the way for greater inclusivity in sports, contributing significantly to the ongoing struggle for racial equality. Charles Follis’s legacy is an indelible part of black history, reminding us of the importance of courage, perseverance, and the transformative power of individuals in shaping a more inclusive and equitable society.

To honor Charles Follis, former governor of Ohio John Kasich proclaimed February 3rd, Charles Follis’ birthday, as “Charles Follis Day” each year across the state.

Celebrate "Charles Follis Day" February 3rd, by demonstrating the "Power of One"!

Charles Follis exemplified the “Power of One” with both grace and greatness. We want all in the community to share in one act that will help others transcend the adversities, challenges, and despair that they experience in life—one person, one family, one community at a time.
The power of one is the ability to recognize that one act—one act of kindness, one gesture of appreciation, one civic service, one gift or opportunity extended to those less fortunate, one donation to support a cherished cause, one enrichment of a young person, one moment of supporting the elderly, one instance of sharing your talent, one word of inspiration helping someone to dream beyond their circumstances, one expression of confidence in another— by the power of one—we can overcome any obstacle.

Want to learn more about continuing the legacy of Charles Follis?