In honor of Morgan State University's 2019 Homecoming Week, we are sharing some artifacts from their 1937 homecoming football game, which began with the dedication of the W.A.C. Hughes Stadium.
Morgan College renovated their football stadium in 1937 at a cost of $360,000 which is equivalent to over $6.3 million in 2019. The new stadium was dedicated on October 16, 1937 (the day of their Homecoming Football Game) as the W.A.C. Hughes Stadium, in honor of 1897 graduate and noted Sharp Street Memorial United Methodist Church (located at Dolphin & Etting Street, Old West Baltimore) minister, William Alfred Carroll Hughes, Sr. Hughes spearheaded an effort to organize the first football team at his alma mater.
Sharp Street Church is tied into Morgan College's founding: In 1867, a group of ministers met at Sharp Street Church to form the Centenary Biblical Institute. In 1890, the name of the Institute was changed to Morgan College, in honor of generous benefactor, Rev. Lyttleton Morgan, who donated land to the college and was the first chairman of the Board of Trustees.
Thousands crowded into the new stadium for the dedicatory exercises and to watch the Morgan Bears beat the Lincoln University Lions, 19-6, in the Homecoming Football Game. However, it is unclear how many people actually attended this significant event, as Morgan State University's website states that 5,400 people attended and the AFRO American Newspaper states that 4,500 people attended.
The Bears went on to post a perfect 7-0 record that season under legendary Coach Eddie Hurt.
The items are as follows:
1) 1937 Morgan College Yearbook, The Spencerian (named after President John Oakley Spencer)
2) Morgan State College stickers
3) Morgan v. Lincoln Homecoming Football Game Program
4) Homecoming Football Game ticket (The cost of a reserved seat ticket in 1937 was $1.10. Today, that's equivalent to $19.45)
5) Photograph of W.A.C. Hughes, Sr. This is cropped from a larger photograph with other important Sharp Street Church members that also hangs in the Sharp Street pastor's office.
6) Two vernacular images of a football game at Morgan College during the late 1930s.
To celebrate the victory, I wonder who attended the Dedication Dance held at the Odd Fellows Hall (McCulloh and Lanvale Streets-located in Old West Baltimore) with music provided by Johnny Christian & his Blue Jays?
Follow us closely for more rare Morgan State University content from our archives. Go Bears!
Courtesy of Nanny Jack & Co Archives