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Kentucky Football honors trailblazer Nate Northington 50 years after making history

The Wildcats recognized the man who broke the color barrier in SEC football.

@DrewFranklinKSR on Twitter

This weekend, during their game against Eastern Michigan, the Kentucky Wildcats payed tribute to former player Nate Northington in a variety of ways. After all, it is the 50th anniversary of Northington becoming the first African-American to play football in the SEC.

Clearly, this is an historic commemoration of a watershed moment in college athletics, and it follows last year’s unveiling of the statue at Kroger Field commemorating the first four African-American players in program history.

One way in which Kentucky will salute Northington is by wearing a sticker on their helmets that reads “23”—Northington’s number while at Kentucky.

Northington, who was named the team’s honorary captain today, also joined Coach Stoops and the rest of the team during the Cat Walk, which made for a pretty poignant moment as he shook hands with fans—both young and old.

Before the game began, Kentucky brought Northington out onto the field, and UK beat writer Joe Mussatto described the scene he witnessed at Kroger Field:

By the way, you should carve a few minutes out of your Saturday to watch this great video that ESPN put together about Northington and the role he played in helping de-segregate the SEC back in 1967.