Prior to the 1970’s, many people of African ancestry found the field of sports an area in which they could perform, compete, contribute, and be accepted in when prejudice and discrimination because of color may have prevented them exceling in other areas. SACHM’s virtual museum will highlight many of the contributions made by athletes in the past and present. Football (particularly, the Saskatchewan Roughriders) has been one sport in which athletes include Canadians, Americans and others. Baseball is another. In the 50’s there were several teams in the Saskatchewan Baseball League that included persons of African ancestry. Some teams consisted mostly of Black players. Hockey, Athletics (Track & Field, Road Running, etc.), Boxing and Basketball also has/had many homegrown athletes participating and competing. They and other sports will be highlighted.
Saskatchewan Roughriders of African Descent
Saskatchewan Roughriders celebrated 100 years in 2010. The name in 1910 was the Regina Rugby Club. The team colours were gold and purple, changed to blue and white the next year and then red and black in 1912, which lasted 36 years. The name was changed to the Regina Roughriders in 1924.
The first known person of African ancestry to play with the team was Robert “Stonewall” Jackson, a porter with the railroad in 1930. The next was Gabe Patterson who played 1947-1948. 1948 was the year the Regina Roughriders became the “SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS”. That year the colours became Green and White. In 1985, black and silver was added to the Green and White.
Football history was made in 1999 when the Saskatchewan Roughriders became the first professional team with a general manager and head coach, both of whom were of African ancestry.
SACHM’s mission is to “To research, find and highlight the contributions and achievements of people of African descent in Saskatchewan. Publicize, educate the public, celebrate and preserve these contributions and achievements.”
Those persons of African descent who have been part of the Saskatchewan Roughrider team will be profiled in SACHM Virtual Museum. As part of African Canadian/Black History Month 2015, SACHM is highlighting those members who “PLAYED AND STAYED”.