Tuscaloosa High School Black Bears Football Team, 1926

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Tuscaloosa High School Black Bears Football Team, 1926


High schools


The 1926 Tuscaloosa High School Black Bears became national champions when they played Senns High School from Chicago for the Silver Football Trophy.

On the team, Row 1: Claude Taylor, Sam Coley, Joe Craig, Bruce McEachin, M.L. Ward, Luther Davis, James Ed Malone and Norwood Coker. Row 2: Bailey Thompson, Joe Bowers, William "Teeny" Beard, Frank Maxwell, Elza Fulmer, Frank "Swede" Kendall, Roy Abernathy. Row 3: Coach Paul Burnum, John "Flash" Suther, Dwight Deal, Hilmon Holley, Jim Louie Reed, Hartman Butler (manager), Jeff Bush, Joe Shepherd, Winfield Hughes, and Hank Martin (assistant coach).

Promoters Champ Pickens from Alabama and Walter Eckersall in Illinois put the match together. Coach Paul Burnum had his boys ready when the Northern team came to Tuscaloosa, demanding a gut-wrenching effort from every player. An unseasonably hot December was a point in the team's favor.

Coach Burnum played his Confederate card, giving a legendary speech about revenging Grandpa's honor. Coach Burnum had also arranged for the sweethearts of some Tuscaloosa players to be hostesses to the Chicago players; some were seen walking down the halls holding hands. Burnam mentioned that some of those Yankee intruders were out to defile Southern womanhood yet again.

The team swarmed onto the field, scoring their first touchdown just two minutes into the game when Dwight Deal intercepted a pass and ran 45 yards. The Chicago team seemed stunned at the ease at which the Southerners scored. The final score was 42-0.

See The Tuscaloosa News, Dec. 1, 1996, for more information on this historic game.


Personal Collection of Carolyn Fulmer


The Tuscaloosa News


December 15, 1926


Betty Slowe (Description)






Tuscaloosa (AL)

Original Format


Physical Dimensions

8 inches by 10 inches

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