Friday, October 22, 2010

Wyoming State Archives podcast looks back at 1969's "Black 14" controversy

The October 23 football game between the University of Wyoming and Brigham Young brings back memories of the 1960s stand-off between some of the football players and their coach in the proposed protest by the players against the LDS church's then-policy to keep African Americans from holding certain high level positions in the church heirarchy.

The Wyoming State Archives looks back on one of the darkest periods of that history with a podcast featuring a series of interviews revisiting the Black 14 incident of October 1969. The podcast includes comments by long-time Wyoming broadcaster, the late Larry Birleffi; members of the Black 14; and other Wyoming officials.

Birleffi, in an interview conducted during the early 80s, describes to interviewer Mark Junge the social climate of that time, the man that was Coach Lloyd Eaton, and his interpretation of the darkest period of Wyoming football.

Birleffi’s comments along with more recent interviews with others involved with the Black 14 incident are available on the Wyoming State Archives website. They include Dr. Willie Black, then chancellor of the Black Student Alliance; Judge James Barrett, then Wyoming’s Attorney General; and Dr. Michael C. Robinson who was a UW history student, who protested for the football players’ right to protest and then went on to join the LDS church in later years.

Log onto and click on “oral histories.” The oral history project is funded by the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund.