By LORENZO RECUPERO
Everett is no stranger to great athletes and sports teams. We all know names such as Diamond Ferri, Omar Easy, who both excelled on the football field for the Crimson Tide before runs in the NFL, and even Ghared Boyce, the city’s all-time leading basketball scorer, among many other names that proved their ability in a special way on the field and hardwood of play.
But what do all the aforementioned athletes have in common? They are all achieving Black men.
In honor of Black History Month, we at the Leader Herald would like to shed light on the first documented African American leader in Everett sports history – Mr. Matthew Bullock.
Born in Dabney Vance County, North Carolina on September 11, 1881, to Jesse and Amanda Bullock, Matthew, at the age of eight, moved to Massachusetts.
His parents, both born into slavery, were illiterate and could not communicate effectively. This did not stop Bullock from making his mark at his new home.
Upon arrival, Bullock started his schooling in the Boston Public Schools system before making his way to Everett High School, where he played multiple sports his senior year, including baseball, football, and track, earning the role of team captain in each. It is widely acknowledged that Bullock was the first African American to be named a team captain in EHS history.
In 1900, Bullock started his time at Dartmouth College, becoming the first African American to play on the football team. Excluding a freshman season in which he did not take the field, Bullock, playing defensive end, helped Dartmouth to a 24-4-1 record in three seasons of play.
Upon wrapping up life at Dartmouth College in 1904, to fund his way through law school, Bullock turned to coaching, garnering yet another first in his distinguished list of accomplishments. At the helm of Mass Agricultural College (now UMASS Dartmouth), Bullock became the first African American coach at an integrated college in the nation. He amassed a 5-2-1 winning record in his first season.