New York, NY—Roscoe C. Brown, Jr. was awarded most of the most prestigious prizes in the sports at the 55th Annual National football Foundation Awards Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria on December 4.
The 90 year old is a true American hero who has lived a life of achievement and service to others. Thus, it was extremely appropriate that Brown follow in the footsteps of many great Americans in receiving this honor. The first recipient in 1958 was sitting President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Six presidents followed Eisenhower in receiving the Gold Medal. Other distinguished honorees include Generals Douglas MacArthur and Norman Schwarzkopf, astronaut John Glenn and from the sport of baseball, Jackie Robinson and George M. Steinbrenner.
Brown has amassed a lengthy and important list of varied achievements during his nine decades of life. As an African-American, he spent the early years of his life knowing too well the hardships of discrimination and segregation. His first serious encounter with the sport of football occurred during his college years at Springfield College in Massachusetts where he played end, offensively and defensively, for four years.
Shortly after his graduation in 1943, Brown entered the U.S. armed forces. In the segregated army, Brown was one of the pioneers who flew with the Tuskegee Airmen. The highly respected aviators were honored five years ago with the Congressional Medal of Honor.
After the end of World War II, Brown devoted his life to education. He taught and coached various sports at West Virginia State College. He then moved to New York City. He earned a Master’s and a Doctorate at New York University, where he taught for a quarter of a century.
Brown’s next move was to college administration. He was president of Bronx Community College from 1977-1993. Although past the age of 70, Brown did not choose retirement. At the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), Brown created a new program, the Center for Urban Education Policy, which he still heads.
His achievements have earned Brown many honors through the years. Of the selection of Brown for the Gold Medal Award, NFF Chairman and football great Archie Manning, the father of Eli and Payton, commented, “For his heroic service to our country and his academic accomplishments, we are proud to recognize him with our highest award, rightfully placing him among the many titans who have claimed this highly prestigious award.”
Brown devoted some of his acceptance speech at the dinner to recognize the positives organized sports has provided to the American society, “One of the things the sport teaches us is that excellence overcomes stereotypes and obstacles. Through sport, and particularly football, we have been able to break the barriers of gender bias and ethnic bias and tonight, we can feel very proud that as we honor the excellence on the football field, we are also honoring the excellence in our hearts and minds because we have changed this country.”