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Ray Kemp Date of birth April 7, 1907 Place of birth Cecil, Pennsylvania, United States Date of death March 26, 2002(2002-03-26) (aged 94) Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) Weight 215 pounds (98 kg) Position(s) Tackle College Duquesne University Statistics Pro Football Reference DatabaseFootball Teams 1933 Pittsburgh Pirates Raymond Howard Kemp (April 7, 1907 – March 26, 2002) was an American football player and a charter member of the Pittsburgh Pirates football team (now called the Pittsburgh Steelers). He was also the first African-American player in the team's history. In fact in 1933, he was the only African-American on the team and only one of two black players in the entire National Football League. Contents 1 Early life 2 Duquesne Dukes 3 Pittsburgh Pirates 4 References Early life Kemp graduated from Cecil High School in 1926. After graduation, he worked in the coal mines around Cecil, Pennsylvania for one year before enrolling at Duquesne University. Duquesne Dukes At Duquesne, Kemp was coached by Elmer Layden, a former member of Notre Dame's Four Horsemen. Kemp became a starter for the Dukes during his sophomore year and by the end of his senior season, he received an honorable mention on some All-American lists. After graduation, Future Pirates owner, Art Rooney told Kemp that he would like for him to play for his "J.P. Rooney semi-pro team". In 1932 he did play for both the J.P. Rooneys and the semi-pro Erie Pros in his spare time. He remained at Duquesne that season, and served as the line coach for Layden. Pittsburgh Pirates The following year, the J.P. Rooneys were reorganized and became the NFL's Pittsburgh Pirates. Kemp joined the team and became one of only two black players in the league, the other being Joe Lillard of the Chicago Cardinals. Kemp played in the Pirates' first three games against, the New York Giants, Chicago Cardinals and Boston Redskins. After the Redskins game, Kemp was cut by the team. He appealed the cut to Art Rooney, but Rooney refused to go over the head of the coach, Jap Douds, who as a player-coach, also played Kemp's position. However a Pittsburgh Courier story on November 14, 1933 claimed that Kemp was placed on the reserve list and quit, although fans had rated him highly. Art Rooney stated that he was limited to having only 22 players on the roster and preferred to keep the more experienced players. Kemp then went back to his job in the steel mill and the Pirates went 2-5 over the next seven games. He was named to the starting lineup after only two days of practice and played the entire game at tackle against the New York Giants, who would defeat the Pirates 27-3 at the Polo Grounds. However the Friday before the Pirates' game in New York, Kemp was asked to leave the hotel housing the Pirates' players. Walter Francis White of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, suggested he file a discrimination suit. However Kemp refused, fearing the backlash that would occur to Art Rooney, who had given him a chance at an NFL career. That game against the Giants was the final game of Kemp's brief career in the NFL. The next season he was hired as the head football coach at Bluefield State College. With the exits of Kemp and Lillard, the NFL would not have any black players until 1946. References Carroll, Bob (1983). "Ray kemp Blazed an Important Trail". Coffin Corner (Professional Football Researchers Association) 5 (12): 1–8.  Gems, Gerald R. (1988). "Shooting Stars". Coffin Corner (Professional Football Researchers Association) 10 (Annual): 5–7.  Ray Kemp's obituary v · d · ePittsburgh Pirates (Steelers) 1933 Inaugural Season Roster Corrie Artman | Angelo Brovelli | John Burleson | James Clark | Sam Cooper | Larry Critchfield | Ted Dailey | Nick DeCarbo | Jap Douds | Tiny Engebretsen | Tony Holm | Walt Holmer | Frank Hood | Clarence Janecek | Mose Kelsch | Ray Kemp | Marty "Butch" Kottler | Mose Lantz | Jim Letsinger | Bucky Moore | Paul Moss | John "Cap" Oehler | Jess Quatse | Leo Raskowski | Don Rhodes | Gil Robinson | Elmer Schwartz | George Shaffer | Bill Sortet | Bill Tanguay | Ray Tesser | Harp Vaughan | Ed Westfall | Tommy Whelan Head Coach: Jap Douds v · d · eLincoln Blue Tigers head football coaches W. B. Jason (1920–1923) • Otis E. Finley (1924) • A. E. Morris (1925) • Unknown (1926) • George R. Collins (1927–1928) • D. Waters (1929) • Unknown (1930–1934) • Ray Kemp (1935–1942) • No team (1943) • Ray Kemp (1944) • David D. Rains (1945–1948) • Dwight T. Reed (1949–1972) • Leo Lewis (1973–1975) • Don Hudson (1976–1979) • Curt Gentry (1980) • Cal Jones (1981) • Clark Frost (1982–1985) • John A. Freeman (1986–1987) • Jerry McMillan (1988–1989) • No team (1990–1909) • Jack Bush (2000–2001) • Fred Manuel (2002–2004) • Lemar Parrish (2005–2008) • Nate Cochran (2009– ) Persondata Name Kemp, Ray Alternative names Short description Date of birth April 7, 1907 Place of birth Cecil, Pennsylvania, United States Date of death March 26, 2002 Place of death