Illinois History Minutes

January 27 Illinois History Minute


It’s January 27th, and Elmore James was born on this day in 1918. The King of the slide guitar was born in Mississippi, but beginning in the 1950s, he became part of the Chicago blues scene, and his voice and guitar playing were featured on songs including “Dust My Broom” and “The Sky Is Crying”

Football player and coach Fritz Pollard was born today in Chicago in 1894. He played football, baseball and ran track at Chicago’s Lane Tech. In college, he was Brown University’s first African-American football player, playing on their team for their loss to Washington State in the 1916 Rose Bowl.  He was the NFL’s first African-American coach in 1925, coaching for the Hammond Pros, a traveling team for which he also played.