George Taliaferro (January 8, 1927 – October 8, 2018) was a professional American football player who was the first African American drafted by a National Football League (NFL) team. Beginning his football career at  Indiana University for the Hoosiers team, he played in the NFL for the New York Yanks from 1950 to 1951, the Dallas Texans in 1952, the Baltimore Colts from 1953 to 1954, and Philadelphia Eagles in 1955. Taliaferro was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1981.
Taliaferro was born in
Gates, Tennessee. Before his college years, he moved to  Gary, Indiana where he graduated from Gary Roosevelt High School. He attended  Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, in 1945. While at Indiana University, Taliaferro became a member of  Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.
As the leading rusher and an
All-American at Indiana University, he led the Hoosiers team to their only undefeated Big Ten Conference championship.  He was a three-time  All-American, Taliaferro led the Hoosiers in rushing twice, punting in 1945 and passing in 1948. Taliaferro helped break the color barrier in sports, playing for the Hoosiers two years before  Jackie Robinson suited up for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was inducted into the  College Football Hall of Fame in 1981.
Taliaferro, a halfback, quarterback, and
punter, was picked by the Chicago Bears in the thirteenth round of the 1949 NFL Draft but instead chose to play for the Los Angeles Dons of the All-America Football Conference. This made him the first  African American drafted by an NFL team. He played with the Dons in 1949, then moved to the NFL, where he played with the  New York Yanks (1950–1951), Dallas Texans (1952), Baltimore Colts (1953–1954), and Philadelphia Eagles (1955). He went to the  Pro Bowl in 1951, 1952, and 1953.
A documentary about Taliaferro, titled
Indiana Legends: George Taliaferro, was produced by WTIU public television in Bloomington, Indiana. In later years he became a volunteer with  Big Brothers Big Sisters of Baltimore, advised prisoners adjusting to society upon their release, got his master's in social work at Howard University, taught at Maryland, was dean of students at Morgan State, returned to Indiana as a professor and special assistant to IU president John Ryan, and helped start Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Indiana in Bloomington.
Taliaferro died at age 91 on October 8, 2018, in
Bloomington, Indiana from heart failure.
Racial issues faced by black quarterbacks
"NFL History and Stats - Football History". Pro Football Hall of Fame . . http://www.profootballhof.com/history/general/african-americans.jsp
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Schumann, Mike (October 9, 2018). "Breaking: IU Legend George Taliaferro Dies at 91". The Daily Hoosier . https://www.thedailyhoosier.com/breaking-iu-legend-george-taliaferro-has-passed-away/ . Retrieved October 8, 2018.
Knight, Dawn (2007). Taliaferro: Breaking barriers from the NFL draft to the ivory tower. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-253-34931-6.
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"George Taliaferro, Indiana U. football star, first black player drafted in NFL, dies at 91". Washington DC: Nash holdings, LLC. October 10, 2018 . https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/local/obituaries/george-taliaferro-indiana-u-football-star-first-black-player-drafted-in-nfl-dies-at-91/2018/10/10/7ae004c2-cca4-11e8-920f-dd52e1ae4570_story.html . Retrieved October 11, 2018.
"George Taliaferro, First African-American Player Picked in NFL Draft, Dies at 91". New York City: Meredith Corporation. October 9, 2018 . https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/10/09/george-taliaferro-death-first-african-american-picked-nfl-draft . Retrieved October 12, 2018.
Finley, Patrick (October 9, 2018). "George Taliaferro, first African-American player drafted in NFL, dies at 91". Chicago, Illinois: Sun-Times Media Group . https://chicago.suntimes.com/sports/george-taliaferro-first-african-american-player-drafted-in-nfl-dies-at-91/ . Retrieved October 12, 2018.
Mayer, Larry (February 14, 2012). "Smith thrilled to meet Bears' first African American player". Chicago Bears . http://www.chicagobears.com/news/article-1/Smith-thrilled-to-meet-Bears-first-African-American-player/1BFACE62-E9D9-43D6-8432-24391D403A97 . Retrieved January 21, 2013.
"George Taliaferro Played Quarterback and a Whole Lot More". The Undefeated. September 28, 2017 . https://theundefeated.com/features/george-taliaferro-black-quarterback-first-african-american-drafted-into-the-nfl/ . Retrieved October 8, 2018.
"References: Player George Taliaferro". Pro-Football Reference . https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/T/TaliGe00.htm . Retrieved October 8, 2018.
"Indiana Legends: George Taliaferro". PBS . https://www.pbs.org/video/wtiu-documentaries-indiana-legends-george-tailaferro/ . Retrieved October 8, 2018.
"IU football trailblazer George Taliaferro dies at 91". IndyStar. October 9, 2018 . . https://www.indystar.com/story/sports/college/indiana/2018/10/08/first-african-american-drafted-nfl-george-taliaferro-dies-91-iu-hoosiers/1574059002/