The Ohio House yesterday passed legislation jointly sponsored by State Representatives Mark Romanchuk (R-Ontario) and Ron Amstutz (R-Wooster) designating February 3rd as “Charles Follis Day” in honor of the first African American professional football player.


Charles Follis was born on February 3, 1879 in Wayne County and played for the Shelby Blues in Richland County. In recognition of his many accomplishments on the football field, Follis was honored with a plaque at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, received a proclamation from the City of Shelby, and was recognized by Wooster High School after they designated their football field as “Follis Field.”


Known as the “Black Cyclone” for his tenacity in athletics, Follis overcame many trials and barriers on the field, and off, before his untimely death in 1910. During a time of residual racial tension in America, Follis became a trailblazer in the African American community and a sports legend among fellow football players, historians and enthusiasts alike.


“I was proud to sponsor this legislation, which pays tribute to Charles Follis who made an impact both on the field and off,” said Rep. Romanchuk. “His faith, perseverance and charisma stood out among his teammates and on all who encountered him.”


House Bill 449 passed unanimously and will now head to the Senate for further consideration.

 
 
 
  
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