First Black Razorbacks Talk Sports History

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Three of the first ever black Razorback football players returned to Fayetteville to share their experiences as a rare black athlete in the 1970s.

Johnnie Meadors, a former defensive end from 1973 to 1976, was a standout athlete and chose to come play for the Razorbacks. His decision was not met with celebration from those around him.

“When I announced I was going to the University of Arkansas, the first thing that hit everybody’s lips is ‘there are no black athletes there,’” Meadors said. “My response to them: ‘Theres one now.’”

Meadors was an all-southwest conference in 1975 and Bryson Manner who was also at the event was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame. The men played alongside each other in 1973 and in 1974. 

When asked what his favorite memory was, Meadors replied with the moment they won in Little Rock against Texas A&M, clinching a berth to play in the Cotton Bowl.