‘Mormon Land’: One of Wyoming’s ‘Black 14’ reflects on past protest against BYU and present partnership with LDS Church

(Photo by Andy Carpenean/Laramie Boomerang) John Griffen, right, ties a black armband on the arm of his former teammate Mel Hamilton before a Black 14 panel discussion in the Central Ballroom on Tuesday Nov. 3, 2009 in Laramie, Wyo. The discussion marked the 40-year anniversary of when, in 1969, 14 Wyoming football players were kicked off the team as they planned on wearing black armbands during a game against BYU.

In October 1969, 14 African American players for the University of Wyoming planned to sport black armbands in a football game against Brigham Young University to protest the then-priesthood/temple ban on Blacks in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (that ban ended in 1978).

Their coach booted them off the team hours before kickoff.

Now, more than 50 years later, the “Black 14,” as they have been called, are teaming up with the LDS Church to bring 180 tons of food to people in need in nine U.S. cities stretching from Maryland to Wyoming.

On this week’s podcast, Mel Hamilton, one of the original Black 14 whose son actually converted to Mormonism, talks about the experience, past and present.

Listen here: