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No Shoulders to Stand On: The first African-American scholarship football players at UVA

no shoulders to stand on

John Rainey, Kent Merritt, Stanley Land and Harrison Davis. Photo by Jerry Ratcliffe.

The University of Virginia admitted its first African-American football players in 1970. This series chronicles the four men who broke the color barrier at UVA.

John Rainey
John Rainey was a Southwest Virginia football star who would be the first in his family to attend college. He was also a member of the first class of African-American scholarship football players at the University of Virginia. Rainey recounts the experiences on the final installment of “No Shoulders to Stand On.”

Kent Merritt
Kent Merritt was a key part of the first UVA football recruiting class to include African-American student-athletes. Merritt joins us for our “No Shoulders to Stand On” series to talk about life on Grounds in the early 1970s.

Harrison Davis
Harrison Davis starred at Bethel High School, had loads of big-time offers, but his mother wanted him at Virginia. Davis joins our “No Shoulders to Stand On” podcast series to talk about his experiences as one of the first four African-American football players at UVA.

Stanley Land
Stanley Land was one of four men who blazed a trail as the first African-American scholarship football players at the University of Virginia. Land joins “The Jerry Ratcliffe Show” for our “No Shoulders to Stand On” podcast series looking back at their experiences on Grounds that began in 1970.

Al Groh
Former Virginia coach Al Groh was the freshman coach in 1970 when the university admitted its first African-American football players. Groh joins “The Jerry Ratcliffe Show” to kick off our podcast series, “No Shoulders to Stand On,” featuring the four – John Rainey, Kent Merritt, Stanley Land and Harrison Davis.

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