John Mosley, Tuskegee Airman and CSU’s First Black Football Player, Dies

Lt. Col. John Mosley (Photo: The Denver Post)
Lt. Col. John Mosley
(Photo: The Denver Post)

The funeral for former Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. John Mosley, the first black football player at CSU and a pioneer in the civil rights movement, is Saturday.

Mosley, 93, a Denver native, died Friday in Aurora.

He enrolled at Colorado State University, then called the Agricultural College of Colorado, in 1939 and was one of nine black students. He was the only African-American football player and encountered prejudice from opponents and some teammates who never accepted him, according to a CSU news release, but he did find friends in fellow teammates Dude Dent and Woody Fries.

After his time at CSU and during World War II, Mosley aggressively sought the right to fly and fight for this country.

“He always said that he had to fight in order to fight,” his son Eric Mosley told The Denver Post. “He used that saying as a benchmark in his life. He had to struggle to be able to fight for his country.”

“He always had the determination to be the best he could be and be someone extraordinary,” Eric recalled.

Mosley excelled despite segregation and the prejudice that once existed. In his youth, blacks were confined by covenants and standards to living in an area just east of downtown. He refused to become bitter.

“I looked at it as an opportunity to move ahead,” he told the Post in a 2008 interview. “I was too busy trying to ensure that I got everything I possibly could out of school and also to participate in athletics.”

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SOURCE: The Coloradoan

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