The first African-American pro-football quarterback was remembered Friday in a ceremony at the Burlingon Performing Arts Centre.
Bernie Custis grew up in Philadelphia and in 1951 he was a first round draft pick for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns. But he wanted to play quarterback and the U.S. apparently wasn’t ready for a black man in the key position. So Custis instead joined the Hamilton Tiger-cats and made this his home.
His sister and her kids came from Philadelphia for the service.
“The first African American in the CFL as well as the first African American quarterback for Syracuse University. I often felt humbled and proud of those facts.” Brandon Mayfield, nephew.
After football, Custis was a teacher, a principal and a coach.
Bernie Custis was 88.