Hawkeye legend Duke Slater was so good the NFL couldn’t keep him out. And now he’s going into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The pioneering two-way lineman was part of the centennial class announced in 2020 to celebrate the NFL’s 100th season. He will be included in induction festivities Aug. 7-8 after they were postponed last year. Slater tackled bigotry head-on, and blocked it, too. He was the NFL’s first African-American lineman, and often the only Black player on the field. After retiring, he broke down more racial barriers to become a judge in Chicago.
Slater played for Iowa from 1918-1921. In 2019, the University of Iowa unveiled a sculpture of the two-time All-American on the north end of Kinnick Stadium. The relief depicts Slater’s famous block against Notre Dame in 1921. In 1972, then-UI president Willard Boyd proposed renaming Iowa Stadium “Kinnick-Slater Stadium” after Slater and Nile Kinnick, but the university decided to name it after Kinnick alone. Instead, the university named the residence hall closest to the stadium Slater Hall in his honor