Charles Follis

Charles Follis

The Black Cyclone

First African-American professional American football player.

Client Since 2021.

Charles Follis
Charles Follis

Charles W. Follis was the first Black professional American football player. He played for the Shelby Blues of the “Ohio League” from 1902 through the 1906 season. On September 16, 1904, Follis signed a contract with Shelby, making him the first Black man contracted to play professional football on an integrated team. He was also the first Black catcher to move from college baseball into the Negro leagues.

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"The Shelby Athletic Association has secured the services of Charles Follis for this season. The contract has been signed and 20 football enthusiasts will be pleased to know Follis will be on the local team again this year. Although Follis played for two previous years, this would be the first year documented in which he received compensation. Follis plays halfback and there is no finer in the state."

- Frank S., Shelby Globe