Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers

December 7, 1958

On December 7, 1958, the Atlanta Daily World ran an advertisement for the Orange Blossom Classic football game at Miami’s Orange Bowl stadium between Florida A&M University and Prairie View University. The Orange Blossom Classic was the de facto Black National Championship game and always pitted Florida A&M against a visiting team. In their preview of the game, the Daily World noted that this was the “fifth meeting of the two potent football giants” and that the underdog Florida A&M squad have “all to win and nothing to lose” against undefeated Prairie View, which was ranked number one in the nation by the Associate Negro Press. Prairie View was led by coach Billy Nicks and by “Texas Giant-like six-four 210 lb. quarterback” David Webster.

Prairie View won the game 26-8, and the Daily World reported that “39,426 See Panthers Win Undisputed Nat’l Crown.” Sports columnist Marion Jackson wrote that Prairie View coach Billy Nicks was frustrated “that some unfair tactics had been used against his team in not judging them national champions on the basis of regular season play. He took newspapermen to task for what he termed a farce in billing the Orange Blossom Classic yearly as a national championship game when it was purely a post-season exhibition.” Finally, ten days after the game the Daily World noted that a local group of sport enthusiasts called the 100 Per Cent Wrong Club had also named Prairie View the national intercollegiate football champions for 1958.

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