This Day in Black Sports History: February 17, 1936

February 18, 2011   ·     ·   Jump to comments

In the summer of 1966, James Nathaniel Brown stunned the sports world with the announcement of his retirement from the Cleveland Browns while still in the prime of his NFL career. But those short nine seasons, in which he terrorized opposing defenses, saw Brown firmly establish himself as one of the greatest players to ever step on the gridiron.
Born in 1936 on St. Simon’s Island, off the coast of Georgia, Brown was raised by his great-grandmother after his father, a former professional boxer, left the family when he was still an infant. When he turned seven, Brown would eventually join his mother in Long Island, NY, where she had found work as a housekeeper.
Life up north was initially a culture shock for Brown, who managed to get into a fight on his first morning at Manhasset Valley grade school.
"My mother had dressed me in new clothes," Brown recalled.
"That morning when they gave us recess, a black boy made a wisecrack, said I looked 'pretty,' and he shov...

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