The second annual Enshrinement ceremony of the Black College Football Hall of Fame is coming up on February 19th in Atlanta, Georgia and each and every inductee that has been selected for the past two years deserves to be in this Black College Football Hall of Fame. There have been so many fantastic coaches, contributors and players that are so worthy and I agree with each and every selection that has been made for the past two years. All of the inductees have made such a huge impact to black college football and has helped enhance the game to where it is today.
I would like to share with everybody who reads this about a phenomenal man that has had an influence on my life and so many people that he touched as well. My grandfather Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones took the initiative to give Eddie Robinson a coaching position and rest is history. No other HBCU has put more players in the NFL and has had as many National Football League Hall of Famers. As a result of him taking a chance on Eddie Robinson it set in motion a course for Grambling and black college athletics where it is today. Black College football is where it is today because of the commitment, discipline, and focus that he had on impacting this small college that has become a powerhouse in black college football today. As a result of what my grandfather started it has had an impact on Black College Football until this very day.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones, the school’s president from 1936 to ’77 was a man of vision and versatility. He believed that if he could get the college to do for blacks what Notre Dame had done for Catholics–gather a national constituency through the success of a football program–he could ensure the financial survival of a tiny all-black school, unknown outside its own little parish and, more to the point, underfunded by the state. It was a bold and ridiculous idea, but Jones was given to great schemes and heavy workloads.
He was the baseball coach until his retirement, and created the school band in his spare time, buying the instruments on credit and teaching the students on every one of them. The halftime shows of black college football are a result of what he wanted to do for Grambling’s band and making it perform during the halftime show. As a result the band is an integral part of the HBCU game today.
My grandfather impacted everybody he came in contact with because he lived his motto the College “Where Everybody is Somebody”. He wanted the best for all of his students whether they were athletes or not and wanted to ensure that they were prepared for society and the workplace. My grandfather deserves to be in the Black College Football Hall of Fame.