An all-Black Georgia high school football team was finally given the recognition it deserves when it was presented with state championship rings 50 years after a historic win.
In 1969, the Houston High Indians football team won the state championship — a first for the city of Perry in middle Georgia.
But because it was the era of segregation and Houston High was all-Black, not much was made of the victory.
There was no celebration. No parade. No championship rings or memorabilia.
As CNN affiliate WSB put it: “The welcome sign in Perry, in Houston County, reads ‘Where Georgia comes together.’ But in 1969 it was deeply divided.”
The next year, when Houston High integrated with the city’s all-White Perry High in 1970, years of history were erased.
“The trophies and everything that was in that school was thrown away,” Lawrence Clarington, who was part of the winning team, told the affiliate.
“I think the wrong was that, we were not recognized by the school, by the board of education, by the city of Perry,” he said.
CNN has reached out to the Houston County Board of Education for comment and is waiting to hear back.
Clarington was in eighth grade when he joined the Indians football team and brought home the state title.
On Saturday, the city finally did right by the athletes. It held a special ceremony.
The former players stood on what used to be the football field and each remaining teammate received a ’69 championship ring.
This time, generations of families helped celebrate the team, which shared a simple message: Never give up.
The Houston High Indians hadn’t — for half a century.