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The early 1960s were a difficult time for the country especially for everyone involved in the civil rights movement. For Ernie Davis, the football field became a place of refuge where the only thing that mattered was how played the game. As the first African American player to win the Heisman Trophy, Ernie defied the odds and earned respect that broke color barriers.
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Background Info on The Express
Based on a true story, The Express follows the extraordinary life of college football hero Ernie Davis (Rob Brown), the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy. His fight for equality and respect forever changed the face of American sports, and his story continues to inspire new generations.
Raised in poverty in Pennsylvania coal-mining country, Davis hurdled social and economic obstacles to become one of the greatest running backs in college football history. Under the guidance of legendary Syracuse coach Ben Schwartzwalder (Dennis Quaid), he became a hero who superseded Jim Brown’s achievements and set records that stand to this day.
Decorated veteran Schwartzwalder was a Southerner with a single vision of a national championship and hardened ideas about how the world worked. But though he and Davis clashed mightily, he taught the player everything he knew about football, just as Davis helped him learn the true meaning of victory.
As the growing civil rights movement divided the country in the ’60s, Davis became a symbol for achievement that transcended race. Refusing to flinch from others’ prejudices, he achieved all his goals—until he faced a challenge that would make most men crumble. He joined the ranks of black pioneers by teaching a generation tolerance, inspiring a movement that smashed barriers on and off the field. Official website.