November 28, 1961
ERNIE DAVIS OF SYRACUSE WINS HEISMAN TROPHY
New York City (JFK+50) Running back Ernie Davis became the 1st African-American to win the coveted Heisman Trophy today here in New York City.
The All-American led the Orangemen to a national championship as a sophomore in 1959.
This year, Syracuse University posted an 8-3 record & will play the Miami Hurricanes in the Liberty Bowl held in Philadelphia.
Ernest "Ernie" Davis was born in 1939 in New Salem, Pennsylvania. He grew up, however, in Elmira, New York.*
*President Kennedy followed Ernie Davis's football career & asked to meet him when he came to NYC to accept the Heisman.
On Feb 3, 1963, an event was held in Elmira to honor Davis. President Kennedy sent the following telegram:
"Seldom has an athlete been more deserving of such a tribute. Your high standards of performance...reflect the finest qualities of competition, sportsmanship & citizenship."
Ernie Davis was diagnosed with leukemia in 1962 & died at the age of 23 on May 18, 1963.
His coach, Ben Schwartzwalder, said:
"I never met another human being as good as Ernie."
Ernie Davis Statue
Ernie Davis Middle School
Elmira, New York