Slater was a trailblazing Black player for Iowa a century ago. He played for the Hawkeyes from 1918-21 and was named an All-American during his time there.
Once his college career was over, Slater became the NFL’s first Black lineman. Additionally, he became a pioneering Chicago judge after leaving Iowa.
This isn’t the first time that Slater has been linked to Kinnick Stadium. In the 1970s, Iowa president Willard “Sandy” Boyd wanted the team to name the stadium Kinnick-Slater.
Fast forward four decades later, and Iowa may finally go through with this proposal. It would be a wise move by the school to say the least.
AP sources: The University of Iowa plans to name the field at Kinnick Stadium for Duke Slater, a trailblazing Black player who was an All-American tackle a century ago.
— AP Top 25 (@AP_Top25) July 21, 2021
Iowa alumnus Cole Grolmus detailed why it’s so important for the university to change its football stadium’s name in an op-ed piece for The Gazette.
“Changing the stadium’s name can’t change the past. However, it can make a statement about our identity as a university, community and fans going forward,” Grolmus wrote. “We’ve talked about making change as individuals and as a team. This is what change looks like. We have another chance to do the right thing now. Let’s not make the same mistake again.”
If this proposal goes through, Iowa would be the second team in a Power Five conference to have a football stadium named after a Black player – Iowa State is the only one right now.