"Mrs. RMS" writes
Do you have anything on a football
player named Raphael George Clark, aka "Nugget?" Played for
William Penn, he was Class of "54." First black quarterback? I
love this site!
Renee Slaughter of Harrisburg writes
I stumbled across this web-site the other
day and I haven't been able to stop reading it. A little while ago I was
researching some information regarding the "Old" Harrisburg School
system. Back when it was Harrisburg William Penn Tigers and Harrisburg
John Harris Pioneers, I was trying to find out who indeed was the first
black Quarterback. I thought it was a Raphael George Clark, aka "Nugget"
or "Skillet," Class of William Penn 1954. Do you have any information or
facts on this?
If he wasn't first, then do you have an old
roster or know who was?
put the question to Harrisburg historian Calobe Jackson, Jr, who
supplied the answer:
Hello to all. I remember Raphael
Clark and will check on him when I get to the library. Peter
Dickey, class of 1951 (football 1950) was the first black
quarterback under the T formation at William Penn. With Dickey
passing and Willie Mims at end, they were co-champions of the
league. Before 1950, Penn ran from the single wing formation and
the quarterback was primarily a blocking back. Donald Spradley,
Crawford Huff and other blacks played this position in the
1940's and before.
As for passing from the single
wing, Ralph Simpson of the William Penn 1932 State championship
team that beat Altoona was black. He later starred with the
Trojans. On the hill and in Steelton we have another story, too
long to tell here.
(for some of the Steelton story,
By the way, the field at John Harris
has been rebuilt with new grandstands and a field house on one
end. I think the name may be changed from Severance. I will
post the dedication date when it is announced.
I will enjoy looking up Clark; this
random sampling is how God leads me to find something I don't
expect to find.
Lindsay C. Depew III writes:
name is Lindsay C. Depew III. My grandfather played
quarterback at Edison in the thirties. He was coached by Shorty
Miller. He is also an Iwo Jima survivor and was in the West Shore
Drum and Bugle Corps. Lindsay jr. played with East Pennsboro on
the 1959 undefeated and unscored-upon team.
George, below are my remarks on the brief
history of Severance Field, made at the dedication of the new Severance
Field and Field House, September 14, 2005. Senator Piccola, Mayor Reed,
Superintendent Kohn and Principal Kimber also made brief remarks. The
new field will seat 6,500. The recording of the entire dedication
program will appear on channel 20 in a few weeks.
I would be glad to hear from anyone who has
the information and/or pictures on any events that took place on
Severance Field or Fager Field. For instance, Bill Lockhart upset Ed
Temple in three track events on Fager Field in 1947. Carlos Corbin upset
Tom Menneker in the mile run on Severance Field in 1957. William
Penn upset John Harris 7 to 6, in the last game of their series, played
on Fager Field (1946). Penn scored on the famous "Statue of
Liberty Play." In this play, the passer holds the football high in the
air, like a torch, then hands it off to a speedy running back.
Remarks delivered at the
dedication of Severance Field and Field House, September 14, 2005
Dr. Walter E. Severance, a graduate of
Harvard, was the last principal of old Harrisburg Central High School
and the first principal of John Harris High School.
John Harris and William Penn both opened in
1926 and played all home football games on Island Field. In March
of 1936 the football field on the island was destroyed by the flood.
In the fall of 1936 and enclosed field at William Penn was dedicated as
Fager Field. It was named for Dr. Charles Fager, who was the first
principal at William Penn. Both Penn and Harris shared this field
until 1939, when the field here was dedicated as John Harris Field.
The school board named the field for the founder of Harrisburg,
rejecting the name Severance Field at this time.
LLater, in 1959, the field was renamed
Severance to honor Dr. Severance. This field served as home field
for Edison Jr. High School and John Harris Sr. High School until the
William Penn and John Harris high schools were merged into Harrisburg
High in 1971.
Many great athletes, both male and female,
have competed in a variety of sporting events here. Severance
Field remains one of the most picturesque stadiums in the area, and with
this dedication, the tradition continues.
Go to Page 2
"MrsRMS" to Barbara Barksdale, 4 August 2005.
Renee Slaughter to Afrolumens, 5 August 2005.
Calobe Jackson, Jr. to Afrolumens, 5 August 2005.
Michael and Jessica Dorman, Harrisburg's Old Eighth Ward
(Charleston, SC, 2002) p. 52.
Paul B., Profiles from the Susquehanna Valley (Harrisburg, 1973),
extends its sincere thanks to Renee Slaughter and Calobe Jackson, Jr. for
their permission to reproduce their letters.
For more football material, see our
photographs and memories from Sheila
Also, see our
second page of Harrisburg High School memories.