The Huddle

Honoring Don Raymond

Posted: 01-22-2013 | Categories: Parents & Students

When Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is celebrated each January, there always seems to be great sentiments sent to the late Dr. King, who paved the way for countrywide racial integration. We also hear great stories about those individuals who fought for equal rights and achieved success once those rights were granted.

An inspiring, yet largely untold, story is that of Don Raymond, a pioneer of integration for Louisiana high school athletics. Raymond was the first black student-athlete to play sports for Hahnville High School, but even more importantly was the first black four-sport letterman and the first black man to be named by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) to the All-American Football Team. He accomplished all of this by the time he was just sixteen. Unfortunately, Raymond tragically died in a car crash in 1969 just days before one of Hahnville’s biggest track meets of the season.

Despite the ridicule and suffering he endured before his death, Raymond and his accomplishments are what make his story so remarkable. There are accounts of Raymond being refused service at restaurants during road trips as well as being physically attacked during games and in practice. The fact that he was able to excel on the field in the midst of massive racial tension in the South is nothing short of phenomenal.

The LHSAA would like to applaud and celebrate the life and achievements of Don Raymond and hope that his story is heard and appreciated. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a time to reflect upon the people who made a difference to better the world we live in, and Don Raymond should be remembered as one of those individuals.

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