Bobby Marshall to be Celebrated at Open Mic Night

Terry McConnell will play the Bobby Marshall song at The Rendezvous 78 3rd St. Turners Falls, MA on Monday June 5, 2023 at 8:30 pm

I'm celebrating the life and achievement of Bobby Marshall through song at Open Mic Night, 8:30 pm on Monday June 5th at The Rendezvous, 78 3rd Street, Turners Falls, MA.

It is important that the life and achievements of Bobby Marshall are widely known. When he integrated the N.F.L. in September, 1920, that marked the first time an African American played on a major team sport in the 20th Century. This was 27 years before Jackie Robinson integrated Major League Baseball. Marshall was one of the greatest athletes of all time but that is not what makes him so significant for American history. Character, leadership, work ethic, attainment of a law degree, faith, commitment to the community, kindness to all people- these are the things that make Marshall so special. Like Jackie Robinson, Marshall was a great role model. People noticed the type of men Robinson and Marshall were and this changed history. Millions of people realized that the racist notions they grew up with could not be ture, because the lives of Robinson, Marshall and other great African Americans contradicted any notion of racism.

The integration of African Americans in professional sports was a powerful force of integration in American society. Consider the fact that Major League Baseball was integrated in 1947 and the United States Military was integrated in 1948.

My book "Breaking Through the Line: Bobby Marshall, the N.F.L.'s First African American Player" highlights Bobby Marshall, the wonderful man as much as it highlights Bobby Marshall, the wonderful athlete. This book is available on

One way to honor Bobby Marshall is to contribute to the Bobby Marshall Scholarship at the University of Minnesota. This scholarship goes to student athletes in football, men's ice hockey, women's ice hockey, men's baseball, and women's softball who exemplify leadership and academic achievement. Right now this scholarship fund has about $3,400 in it To activate the scholarship, $50,000 must be raised. To donate, send a check to University of Minnesota Foundation, P.O. Box 860266, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55486-0266. Make the check out to "University of Minnesota Foundation." On the memo section of the check be sure to write "Bobby Marshall Scholarship." If you want to use a credit card, go to and then select "Give Now." At "Find a cause to support" type "Bobby Marshall" and select the magnifying glass icon. Then select "Bobby Marshall Scholarship." Then select "Make a gift" and then select "Make your donation." Type in the amount at the upper right of the screen. Then fill in your name, email, address and phone. Then select "Proceed to payment," give your credit card information, and select "Submit payment."

Thank you for your interest in Bobby Marshall,

Terry McConnell

Here are the lyrics to the Bobby Marshall song.

It was September 1920, Bobby Marshall broke through the line,

The first man of color in the NFL, way ahead of his time

A star in baseball, ice hockey and football, the University of Minnesota’s best ever

A scholar in the college class room, became a lawyer, this man was clever

Bobby Marshall, Minnesota sports hero, always a class act

Can you be a man, can you be a man like that?

He could play any position in baseball or football, he even ran track

Home runs, touchdowns, goals scored, even a resounding sack

He could command respect, more than most men

Bobby became the first African American coach in the Big Ten

Once in a pro football game, two players made a vicious physical attack

They really wished the hadn’t, due to what Bobby gave back

Bobby said prejudice is just ignorance, and hate’s not where it’s at

Can you be a man, can you be a man, like that?

Played pro football until age 54, 10 years longer than Tom Brady,

When Bobby got on the field, it drove the opposing coaches crazy

With a crushing tackle or a solid block, he was the man of the hour

Other players were amazed, at his prodigious power

Always kept in great physical shape, never had a lapse

Can you be a man, can you be a man like that?

He cared for other people, kindness was his thirst

Bobby Marshall always made a point, to put other people first

Worked at the state grain commission, to give the farmers a break

At the granary he saw to it, that the farmers got a fair shake

He mentored Minneapolis youth, never asked for a pay back

Can you be a man, can you be a man like that?

Taught his children to always love, these United States

At his house the American flag, was always displayed in place

He lived through a time of great discrimination

And preached to all who would listen to complete your education

Had friends of diverse cultures, and of various creeds

But he always held fast, to the faith that he believed

He maintained his dignity and integrity, in a world of racist rants

Can you be a man or a woman, can you be a man or a woman like that?