Calvin Patterson

Calvin Patterson

Tommy Warren (B.S. 1970, J.D. 1973) "Calvin Patterson --Don't Forget the First" (From FSU Voices: An Informal History of the First 150 Years):

"When I came to FSU on a football scholarship in 1966, there were no African Americans on the football team. The first black football player came to FSU in 1968. His name was Calvin Patterson. Patterson was from Miami Palmetto High School, where as a sophomore he was a starter on his high school team. This in itself was no easy feat, since he was also one of the first blacks to break the color barrier at his high school.

"Calvin and I became very good friends at FSU. In fact, we were roommates in the football dorm for a year. Calvin was a special person in many ways. He was smart, witty, sensitive, and personable, and an exceptional athelete. But his life at FSU was no picnic. Like many black persons who were the 'first,' he experienced indignities, hostility, and even personal threats while breaking the color barrier. And he did it all by himself. For one full year he was the only black on the team. He perservered in the face of these conditions and did not quit.

"After Patterson led the way in 1968, five more African Americans attended FSU the following year. Most of those five had very successful careers at FSU and some even went on to play pro ball. Patterson, for various reasons, never played a down of varsity ball at FSU, but his role in beginning what has become a long tradition of gifted black football players at FSU should not be forgotten.

"Calvin helped me to broaden my outlook at a crucial point in my life. He helped me to understand what it was like to be black in the South in the late 1960s and early 1970s and to put life experiences in their proper perspective.

"It is unfortunate, and terribly sad, that Patterson did not live long enough to see and appreciate the full extent of what he began in 1968. He died a tragic death in 1972 at the age of twenty-two. Although his name does not appear in any FSU record books, his role in FSU football history is a significant one. FSU fans and players owe him recognition and thanks."

 

"Frosh Rested To Tackle Southerners" (Flambeau)