Taliaferro on a 1952 Bowman football card
|No. 20, 24|
January 8, 1927|
October 8, 2018 (aged 91)|
|Height:||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight:||196 lb (89 kg)|
|High school:||Gary Roosevelt (Gary, Indiana)|
|NFL Draft:||1949 / Round: 13 / Pick: 129|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
George Taliaferro (January 8, 1927 – October 8, 2018) was a professional American football player who was the first African American drafted by a National Football League (NFL) team. Beginning his football career at Indiana University for the Hoosiers team, he played in the NFL for the New York Yanks from 1950 to 1951, the Dallas Texans in 1952, the Baltimore Colts from 1953 to 1954, and Philadelphia Eagles in 1955. Taliaferro was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1981.
Taliaferro was born in Gates, Tennessee. Before his college years, he moved to Gary, Indiana where he graduated from Gary Roosevelt High School. He attended Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, in 1945. While at Indiana University, Taliaferro became a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.
As the leading rusher and an All-American at Indiana University, he led the Hoosiers team to their only undefeated Big Ten Conference championship. He was a three-time All-American, Taliaferro led the Hoosiers in rushing twice, punting in 1945 and passing in 1948. Taliaferro helped break the color barrier in sports, playing for the Hoosiers two years before Jackie Robinson suited up for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1981.
Taliaferro, a halfback, quarterback, and punter, was picked by the Chicago Bears in the thirteenth round of the 1949 NFL Draft but instead chose to play for the Los Angeles Dons of the All-America Football Conference. This made him the first African American drafted by an NFL team. He played with the Dons in 1949, then moved to the NFL, where he played with the New York Yanks (1950–1951), Dallas Texans (1952), Baltimore Colts (1953–1954), and Philadelphia Eagles (1955). He went to the Pro Bowl in 1951, 1952, and 1953.
A documentary about Taliaferro, titled Indiana Legends: George Taliaferro, was produced by WTIU public television in Bloomington, Indiana. In later years he became a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Baltimore, advised prisoners adjusting to society upon their release, got his master's in social work at Howard University, taught at Maryland, was dean of students at Morgan State, returned to Indiana as a professor and special assistant to IU president John Ryan, and helped start Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Indiana in Bloomington.