The Eddie Robinson Legacy Fund at Grambling State University established the Eddie Robinson Teacher Education-Civility Scholarship in association with the George Floyd Foundation on Aug. 6 at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum in Natchitoches, La.
The mission of the Eddie Robinson Legacy Fund is to serve as a beacon of light to illuminate the magnificent, admirable and historic life of Coach Eddie G. Robinson by serving as a source of inspiration to future generations through promotion of academic excellence, athletics, life skills and moral values.
Likewise, the George Floyd Foundation has three areas it focuses on: social justice and education, youth services, and workforce development.
“We believe this scholarship hits all three,” said Tezlyn Figaro, senior advisor at the George Floyd Foundation. “It allows opportunity for those to be educated, particularly in the social justice area by carrying the name of George Floyd. This is the first scholarship to be created with many to come in the future.”
According to Figaro, the marriage between the Edie Robinson Legacy Fund and the George Floyd Foundation is a marriage built upon the importance of education and giving people other opportunities. George Floyd’s love for the game was important.
“What’s become even more important is the love the George Floyd Foundation has to continue to move the ball, not just physically on the field but by creating opportunities outside of football,” she shared.
The groups decided to meet at the LA Sports Hall of Fame in Natchitoches. Doug Ireland, chairman of the museum’s support group FLASH (Friends of Louisiana Sports and History), spoke to the museum’s efforts to continually celebrate excellence among trailblazing members of society who have been incredible sports figures.
There is none greater than Eddie Robinson. He has a strong presence in the LA Sports Hall of Fame as one of its inductees and with the Grambling alum in the Natchitoches community.
“Coach Rob represented everything that is good about America,” said Ireland. “We’re trying to be a better America everyday. We fall short everyday. But we keep climbing. This scholarship is a very tangible step in that direction. It will enable students to represent Coach Rob and to stand for what Floyd did in his lifetime.”
The idea for this scholarship initiative began with Eddie Robinson III, executive director for the Eddie Robinson Legacy Fund and Ralph Wilson, Eddie Robinson Legacy Fund Scholarships and Endowments Coordinator.
“Robinson started as a teacher himself at a very young age and ultimately became one of the greatest college coaches on this side of the sun,” said Wilson.
This scholarship will reach African American males from across the country who are college bound and encourage them to become teachers through an institution of the student’s choice. The recipient has to commit to serving as a true agent of change through civility because there’s a need for true civility.
There will be 10 scholarships available at $1,000 each. Wilson said they hope to grow this dollar amount after a two-year period. Students can apply via the Common Black College Application for the 2021-2022 academic year.
“The passing of George Floyd not only inspired a nation to a quasi new modern day civil right movement, but it also inspired the world,” said Robinson III. “My grandfather taught and coached quite a few student athletes, in particular he recruited students from Floyd’s high school [to play at Grambling]…I’m sure George Floyd was heavily impacted by black coaches and black male teachers. We wanted to make sure all our youth today know who Eddie Robinson was and is today through his charity. We wanted to forge a partnership with the family to keep Floyd’s legacy going. I believe this partnership is a match made in heaven.”
The Floyd family agrees. Rodney Floyd, George’s brother, thanked everyone in attendance on behalf of the family and the foundation.
“This scholarship initiative is a great start toward change,” he said.
Floyd’s nephew Brandon Williams added to the family’s sentiment. “This scholarship will allow youth the opportunity to advance their education while pursuing their sports career to ensure that Uncle did not die in vain,” he said.
Figaro encourages anyone interested in establishing a similar scholarship to contact the George Floyd Foundation directly. For more information go online to http://www.thegeorgefloydfoundation.org.
“We appreciate that Eddie and Ralph sought the family’s permission to use George Floyd’s name,” she said. “It was important to have the family’s voice involved in the process as opposed to just using the name or a hashtag. They were focused on the importance of creating a partnership.”
After the presentation of a plaque of a certificate of establishment, the group walked down to the riverbank stage where Floyd’s family members met Natchitoches residents Dominique O’Con, Julisa LaCour and Tremaine Washington, members of the Unheard Voice of Natchitoches Facebook group and organizers of a protest for Injustice in Natchitoches. Rev. Steven Harris was also there as one of the organizing members for another peaceful protest that took place on the steps of the Natchitoches Parish Courthouse. The group then continued its tour of the area before going to lunch at the Legacy Cafe.
Pictured above from left are Ralph Wilson, Floyd’s first cousin Shareeduh Tate, Eddie Robinson III, Floyd’s nephew Brandon Williams, his big sister LaTonya Floyd, brother Rodney Floyd, and first cousin Tera Brown.