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  • Main Street at Mill Street
    New Salem, PA 15468
  • Category: Landmarks
  • Sub-Category: African American History Guide
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Birthplace of Ernie Davis (December 14 1939-May 18 1963)

Brief History

Football Player Ernie Davis became the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy. He spent part of his boyhood years in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, where he lived with his grandparents until relocating to Elmira, New York, to live with his mother and stepfather. In 1961, Davis’ receipt of the Heisman Trophy was historic and unprecedented. He was the first black athlete to win the esteemed award and was the number one pick for the 1962 National Football League draft. He was diagnosed with acute monotypic leukemia on July 30, 1962. He died Saturday, May 18, 1963, and was mourned by the nation. Though Ernie never played a game for the Cleveland Browns, they retired his number 45, which he wore only in practice. Both houses of U.S. Congress eulogized Davis. In Elmira, more than 10,000 citizens passed the house where he lay in state. All flags in the city were flown at half-staff. He was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.

Condition/Architectural Notes

Exact location undetermined. Recommended Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) marker should be placed in New Salem, on Main Street at Mill Street.