In today’s throwback Thursday photograph, President Kennedy greets the 1961 Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis. The photo was taken at a reception sponsored by the National Association of Manufacturers held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.
As a young man, Ernie Davis attended Elmira Free Academy in Elmira, New York. Davis excelled at a number of different sports, but had a natural athletic gift for football. In 1958, Davis became a running back for Syracuse University and was selected Most Valuable Player in 1960. In 1961, Davis became the first African-American player to receive college football’s highest honor – the Heisman Trophy.
Tragically, Davis was diagnosed with leukemia soon after and died in 1963 at the age of 23.
Watch our Uniquely New York video about Ernie Davis:
Photo Credit: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum