Thursday Night Lights in Texas Football

In Texas, high school football is slightly less important than breathing, but just barely.
Where myths and legends are born, and touchdown-scoring heroes are deified
statewide on Friday nights in big city stadiums and small farming communities alike,
identities are shaped in the fall by what happens on patches of grassy turf flanked by
creaky wooden bleachers.

Did You Know

But there is a side to the history of Texas high school football that most people don’t
know. For almost 50 years of Texas’ story, high school sports were segregated and as a
result, formed individual traditions and rivalries. This is the type of history that The
Bryan Museum LIVES to tell! This Texas history museum in Galveston has teamed up
with celebrated author, Michael Hurd, to do just that.

The Story

Based on his book, Thursday Night Lights: The Story of Black High School Football in
Texas, this compelling history has been brought to life in a dynamic exhibit both
introducing and honoring the African American men and boys who coached and played
organized football at African American high schools in Texas for half a socially dark

The Exhibit

The exhibit traces the history of a league that produced nine members of the Pro
Football Hall of Fame, including “Mean” Joe Greene, Ken Houston, and Dick “Night
Train” Lane. In addition to Hall of Famers, the PVIL also produced players that helped to
break the color barrier, such as Ben Kelly, the first Black player in the South to integrate
a collegiate football program in 1953 and Eldridge Dickey, the first Black quarterback
drafted in the first round of the National Football League Draft in 1968.

Featuring innovative art by Reginald C. Adams, dozens of vintage images and artifacts,
videos, interviews, and interactive displays, Thursday Night Lights pulls this bygone era
of Texas history from the shadows. The exhibit will be on display at The Bryan Museum
from April 20th until July 2nd .

Go Visit

The Bryan Museum is located at 1315 21 st Street in Galveston, Texas. Come and
experience Texas history as never before! The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday from
10am-5pm and is open until 7pm on Thursdays.