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Levi Jackson

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Title: Levi Jackson  
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Subject: Skull and Bones, Berzelius (secret society), List of Yale University people, List of Harvard–Yale football games, Walter Camp Man of the Year
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Levi Jackson

Levi Jackson (August 22, 1926[1] – December 7, 2000), a football standout at Hillhouse High School (New Haven, Connecticut), was the first African-American football captain at Yale University, and the first African-American executive at Ford Motor Company. He was a member of the Yale Class of 1950, and captained the 1949 football team, the election taken soon after the 1948 season. Like Albie Booth before him, Jackson was a football standout at Hillhouse High School and Yale. Jackson was born in Branford, Connecticut. Jackson's father was a master steward and chef at Yale's Pierson College. Jackson attended Yale on the G.I. Bill. He attained the rank of sergeant in the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps.[2]

After playing football on the Camp Lee team in Virginia for the U.S. Army, he turned down an offer to play for the New York Giants. That would have made him the first African-American to play in the modern National Football League. Yale coach Howie Odell welcomed Jackson, the team achieving a 7–1–1 record, an Associated Press poll finish at 12, and a victory over Harvard. Jackson's squads were 3–1 versus Harvard.

Jackson's election to the captaincy was unprecedented, given he was the first African-American to play football for Yale, but almost unremarkable in the Yale community. "The voting took only ten minutes. There was no one else. It had to be Levi," a Yale player recounted. Jackson had lettered also for the varsity basketball team[3] Jackson is understood to be the first African-American tapped for a Yale secret or senior society. He turned down the Skull and Bones society for the Berzelius Society.[4]

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