Duke Slater, NFL Hall of Famer. (306909)
Duke Slater, NFL Hall of Famer. Credit: Pro Football Hall of Fame

Duke Slater was so good the NFL couldn’t keep him out. For a Black player in the 1920s and ‘30s, that was a remarkable achievement.

And now Slater is going into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, reports HawkCentral.com .

The pioneering two-way lineman was part of the centennial class announced in 2020 to celebrate the NFL’s 100th season. He was recognized by the hall in April, and will be included in induction festivities Aug. 7-8 after they were postponed last year due to the pandemic.

Slater tackled bigotry head-on, and blocked it, too. He was the NFL’s first African-American lineman, and often the only Black player on the field. After retiring, he broke down more racial barriers to become a Chicago judge.

An All-American at the University of Iowa, Slater created running room in the NFL for such stars as Ernie Nevers and Jim Thorpe, and was chosen All-Pro three times. George Halas called him the Rock of Gibraltar.

He was a 60-minute man and a model of durability despite being a target of rough play. The only game he missed in his 10 NFL seasons, against the Kansas City Blues, was due to a league agreement prevent Blacks from playing in Missouri.