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Duke Slater, former Hawkeye and NFL’s 1st Black lineman, is now Hall of Famer

Sandra Wilkins smiles after unveiling the bust of her uncle Duke Slater at the Pro Football...
Sandra Wilkins smiles after unveiling the bust of her uncle Duke Slater at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement ceremony Wednesday, April 28, 2021 in Canton, Ohio.(Tom E. Puskar | Tom E. Puskar/AP Images for NFL)
Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 2:50 PM CDT
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Duke Slater was so good the NFL couldn’t keep him out. And now he’s going into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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

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 judge in Chicago.

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