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Before Lynn Bowden There Was Joseph N. Kendall

UK Libraries

All this month we are visiting with Reinette Jones who along with colleague Rob Aken, oversee the UK Libraries’ Notable Kentucky African Americans Database – a free online resource for anyone who wants to know more about the history of our commonwealth.  The database is full of little known stories of achievement, injustice, and agency of African Americans, past and present, and today we are shining the spotlight on Joseph N. Kendall, a Kentucky football great not enough people know about.

Joseph N. Kendall was born in Owensboro, KY. In July 2007, he became the first Kentucky State University inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame, located in South Bend, IN. Kendall was considered one of the greatest passers in college football and a good all-around player. He not only played quarterback, but was a running back, punted with both feet, and played on defense. In 1934, he led Kentucky State University to a national black college football championship and an undefeated season. In 1935, he led the team to an Orange Blossom Classic victory. The Pittsburgh Courier named Kendall a First Team All-America three times between 1934-36. He was inducted into the Kentucky State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1975. During Kendall's college football career, Kentucky State had a 29-7-3 record. He was selected for the African American All-Star team that played against the Chicago Bears in 1935; it was the first time that an African American team played against an NFL team. http://nkaa.uky.edu/nkaa/items/show/1653