Fifty years ago, in the fall of 1971, five football players joined the Georgia Bulldogs football team and became the first Black scholarship football players in school history. Richard Appleby, Chuck Kinnebrew, Horace King, Clarence Pope, Larry West and all they collectively represented are the subjects of a new documentary produced by Grady Newsource.
“The First Five” is now available to watch on Grady College’s YouTube channel.
The production is a result of months of work from students, faculty and staff. Grady Newsource director Dodie Cantrell supervised the project.
“The students who chose to work on this historic project understood and honored the fact that the work they were producing was a once in a lifetime opportunity to memorialize a watershed moment in American history through the lens of UGA football and the Civil Rights Movement,” said Cantrell.
Carmical Sports Media Institute student Tylar Norman (AB ‘21) anchored the program and students Jack Sadighian, DonA Traylor, Willie Daniely (AB ‘21), Jessica Green, Southern Britt (AB ‘21) and Jayla Johnson (AB ‘21) reported for the documentary. Molly English (AB ‘21) served as executive producer and Lorna Ramage was the producer.
“In addition to all of the technical skills and journalism tips I learned, I also learned most to sit and listen,” English said. “There were five major stories that we had the responsibility of telling and of telling right. Sitting and listening to those stories, from both the First Five and those they inspired, allowed our team to be able to tell this story fully.”
The students relied heavily on Faculty members Vicki Michaelis, Mark Johnson, Amanda Bright and Valerie Boyd —their “Content Coaches”—who worked with individual students to help them advance the skills they learned at Grady to tell this compelling story honoring the lives of those who lived it.
“The First Five” is the latest documentary produced by Grady students celebrating the pioneers and trailblazers who helped make UGA a more inclusive campus. Earlier in 2021, Grady Newsource produced “UGA’s 60th Anniversary of Desegregation” special. There are plans for more documentaries in the near future.
The documentary is part of a campus-wide celebration. Included in the celebration will be a pregame recognition of the five trailblazers on Dooley Field, including the unveiling of a monument in Reed Plaza next to Sanford Stadium to mark the milestone event of the integration of the football program.
“I am so thrilled to welcome The Five back to campus and honor the 50th anniversary of this milestone for Georgia Athletics and the University of Georgia as a whole,” J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Josh Brooks said. “Coach Dooley, with his foresight to facilitate this pivotal change, and The Five’s courage, strength and perseverance, changed the course of athletics at UGA in the most positive way imaginable. I am so proud to celebrate their impact this year.”
You can read more about the First Five in this release from UGA Athletics.
For more information on The Five and the integration of UGA athletics overall, you can visit a new exhibit on display at the Russell Building Special Collections Libraries called Not Only for Ourselves: The Integration of UGA Athletics. Parts of the exhibit are also available online: https://gado.gs/7j8.
You can also check out this web extra feature where Norman of Grady Newsource, hosts a roundtable discussion about the 1971 integration of the UGA football team. Guests include:
• Josh Brooks, J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics
• Courtney Gay, UGA Asst. Athletic Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
• Kirby Smart, UGA Head Football Coach
• Ben Watson, Former UGA football player 2001-2003