24 February 2023

Published February 22, 2023 by rochellewisoff

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The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit.

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields


Genre: Historical Friction
Word Count: 100


“Besides being the leader in rushing and scoring, he was my friend.” A former football player for Drake University recalls. “There was nobody like him. Next to impossible to bring down.”

Another player remembers October 20, 1951, “We’d heard Oklahoma’s head coach quoted as saying, “We have to get his black ass out of here.

“Ha! Even after Wilbanks Smith busted his jaw, John threw a 61-yard touchdown pass.”

Johnny Bright later forged a brilliant career in Canada as both athlete and educator.

It wasn’t until over twenty years after his death Oklahoma State University issued an apology to him.

As a Kansas City area resident (and native) you might guess I was glued to the TV Sunday Night, February 12 for the Super Bowl. How ’bout those Chieeeeeeeefs! With most of our best players, including MVP Patrick Mahomes, being black, what Mr. Bright went through is unfathomable.


If you have six more minutes, this video says what my 100 words could not.

55 comments on “24 February 2023

    • Dear Iain,

      I recently watched a longer documentary about Johnny Dee Bright. In his short lifetime he left quite a legacy. Who can blame him for leaving for Canada where his talents and gifts were recognized and celebrated? Thank you.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Such an awful thing, but at least there was a silver lining from that brutal attack. Unfortunately at the time the silver lining was just about player safety and not about trying to root out the deep racism that was the real cause of the injury. I’m sorry he had to go to Canada but happy that he had a great career in a country that could appreciate his talent.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Watching that video–knowing the depth of hatred that motivated that horrendous attack–just makes one heartsick. Out of that came a very positive result, but there is no justification at all for the attack. Those responsible should have been convicted of assault, at the very least. And kicked out of the sport.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    As we have come to expect, you have put a very human face on history. It was a disgusting thing to do and knowing it was purely racist hatred makes it all the worse. That the league smartened up and forced face masks is the one positive from that event. Of course Canada accepted him with open arms… 😉 Wonderfully done.

    Shalom and lotsa love with no stigma,


    Liked by 1 person

  • We’re still an evolving species. There have been many growing pains along the way and will be many more before we’re done. Without people like Johnny Bright who are strong enough, brave enough, and skilled enough to lead the way and bear those growing pains for the rest of us, we would never have made it even this far.

    And think about those leather helmets they used to wear. That’s not a helmet. That’s a hat.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Watching the video, I didn’t see any other black faces on the field or in the stadium. He had the courage to excel under those circumstances which is phenomenal in and of itself. When I think of the varieties of evil that have been committed in human history because good people don’t stand up and say “enough”… Then for the institutions that needed to step in to do nothing for 50 years it makes me shake my head in shame and befuddlement. Thank you for bringing Mr. Johnny Bright’s story to us Fictioneers ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lisa,

      It’s odd to see all white faces in sports, isn’t it? In this day and age, some of our best players…at least here in KC…are black. I’m glad Johnny Bright persisted. I have the honor of counting among my good friends a man who was on the Drake team with him, which is how I learned of him. Thank you for reading and commenting as always.




  • A brutal reminder, Rochelle.

    I did not know about this man. Things have changed, but hate and racism have not gone away.

    I started at Texas A&M four years after black and female students were allowed (by force of law) to matriculate (1/1/1964). A&M has since had black, Hispanic, and women Commanders of the Corps of Cadets. Not recruited gifted athletes. Real people who earned one of the most coveted leadership positions on campus. A good thing now, unimaginable in 1968.

    We had one black player on the football team when I was a student. The coach (Gene Stallings) wallowed in the bottom 10. He was forbidden from recruiting black players. We’ve since had black coaches, quarterbacks, and minorities have played at every position. But the change continues in some sports.

    As you mentioned, we just had a Super Bowl where both starting QB’s were black (and from Texas).

    And since we are finishing up black history month, let’s not forget other “firsts”: Jackie Robinson (pro baseball), Arthur Wharton (English football), Jack Johnson (boxing), John Taylor (Olympics), Lucy Diggs Stowe (tennis), Fitz Pollard & Bobby Marshall (US pro football), Sherman “Jocko” Maxwell (sportscasting), Alice Coachman (female Olympics), Willie O’Ree (ice hockey), Charlie Sifford (pro golf/PGA), Arthur Ashe (tennis Grand Slam winner), and the list goes on and on.



    Liked by 1 person

    • Gee whiz, Bill,

      I only had 100 words. 😉 And, yes there are so many other firsts that most of us have never heard of. One of the things I love about John Bright is that, not only was he a gifted athlete, he was an intellectual who became a respected educator. A human being who deserves to be remembered and revered.
      Thank you for your input. 😀



      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Xena Catrina W(T)F,

    In today’s America, all they care about is winning–and it doesn’t matter what color your skin (purple?) is or where you came from if you can help the team win. I do think we’ve come a long way, but still have a long way to go. I thankful for people like Johnny Bright and Jackie Robinson who forged the way.

    Nice tribute to a little-known star,
    Zeus Le Dreck

    Liked by 1 person

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