African American News

Grier Family Announces Project and Celebrated Juneteenth in Atlanta

ATLANTAJune 16, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — In celebration of Juneteenth, 89 year old Bobby Grier traveled to Atlanta to tour Georgia Tech, the College Football Hall of Fame, and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights with his son, Rob Grier Jr., and Blake Van Leer, grandson to late President Van Leer to announce a future release of their book about the 1956 Sugar Bowl through Grier and Van Leer Archives.  At Georgia Tech’s historical Bobby Dodd Stadium, people witnessed Bobby Grier and Georgia Tech’s former quarterback Wade Mitchell shake hands for the first time since 1956.

Grier, Van Leer, Mitchells

Fox 5 Atlanta’s reporter Paul Milliken interviewed Grier Jr. and Van Leer about the significance of this event and future film, book and charitable campaigns. The anticipated film has been supported by producers in Hollywood, some of which flew out to see Grier enshrined in the Hall of Fame last year. Van Leer and Grier were quoted stating this story will help drive change. They are working with the ACC and football teams to help celebrate a friendly rivalry for non profit endeavors.

Following the Georgia Tech meeting, Bobby Grier, Grier Jr. and Van Leer were invited to the College Football Hall of Fame for a VIP tour. Grier Jr. said, “Dad was honored to meet Georgia Tech’s athletic department officials, including Simit Shah and Mike Flynn, its administration, and the Alumni Association’s President Dene Sheheane. The whole experience of being in Atlanta, the birthplace of the modern civil rights movement, was overwhelming. It was emotional for Dad to see the actual 1956 Sugar Bowl trophy resting among many other Georgia Tech trophies.”

The controversial 1956 Sugar Bowl’s post-game awards banquet was hosted by the segregated St. Charles Hotel. Despite doubts that Grier would make an attendance, he not only took his rightful place at the dinner, he accepted an invitation to dine with the Georgia Tech players. Sixty six years later, while the nation marked its second time in history recognizing Juneteenth as a federal holiday, another second in history was made — Pitt’s Bobby Grier and Georgia Tech’s Wade Mitchell dined together once more, this time at Atlanta’s There on Fifth, with the freedom and pride to celebrate this moment in American history with their families.

SOURCE Van Leer Archives

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