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   from the issue of November 16, 2006

From the Archives

George Flippin


The son of a freed slave who fought in the Civil War, George Flippin was an outstanding athlete, student and alumnus of the University of Nebraska.

Born Feb. 8, 1868 in Point Isabelle, Ohio, Flippin was the son of two respected surgeons who relocated to Nebraska shortly after his birth.

He enrolled at the University of Nebraska in 1891 and became a favorite of students and faculty alike. He used his speaking skills to win the oratorical contest of the Palladian Literary Society, for which he also served as president.

Flippin excelled in wrestling, track and football at NU. The 200-pound halfback was the first black athlete to play for a Nebraska athletic team and one of only five playing in the United States in 1892. He helped Nebraska defeat Illinois in 1892, giving the university its first win over an out-of-state opponent (fellow NU alumnus Roscoe Pound served as umpire for the game). Flippin earned three varsity letters and was the first black athlete inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 1974.

He graduated from NU with a bachelor degree in 1894, going on to earn a medical degree from the University of Illinois. Flippin returned to Nebraska and set up his medical practice in Stromsburg. He established the community's first hospital in 1907 and was credited with saving many lives during a polio outbreak.

In addition to his medical practice, Flippin became the first breeder of Barred Plymouth Rock chickens west of the Mississippi River. He owned York County's first automobile and was issued the county's first speeding violation.

Flippin also filed Nebraska's first civil rights lawsuit after he was refused service in a York café.

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From the Archives