When Jimmy Raye enrolled at Michigan State University in 1964, he did more than just enroll in a university hundreds of miles from his native Fayetteville, N.C.: he was part of a groundbreaking movement that changed college football forever.
His story, as well as his Spartan teammates and coach Duffy Daugherty, is told in Raye of Light, from August Publications: the first book to fully explain Duffy Daugherty’s Underground Railroad and its impact on college football. History has not accorded Daugherty, Raye, and the Spartans proper credit for their roles in the integration of college football. Too many view Daugherty as recruiting a couple of All-American players from the South, winning a bunch of games with his 1965-66 teams and then having it all come to an end.
But that ignores the history made by Raye and the Spartans. In his junior season in 1966, Raye was Michigan State’s first black starting quarterback and the first black quarterback from the South to win a national title. The Michigan State team with a progressive head coach, a pioneer black quarterback, and the first fully integrated roster in college football is the subject of this engrossing new book by award-winning author Tom Shanahan.
In Raye of Light, Shanahan tells the story of how Daugherty integrated his Spartan teams in a time when leading college programs like the University of Alabama were still segregated, when it was unusual to see black athletes at skill positions like quarterback, and when choices for outstanding Southern black athletes were either traditionally black colleges or northern colleges opening their doors to nationwide recruits.
We’re already seeing some good press for the book: the Detroit Free Press today had a nice look at Raye, the Spartans, their legacy and this book. For more information about Raye of Light as well as ordering information, check out the Raye of Light website.
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