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Film remembers Calvin Jones

December 28, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

Area residents will have the chance to remember one of the greatest athletes to ever come from Steubenville Saturday.

That's when the film "The Crash" is shown at 1 p.m. in the Steubenville High School auditorium. The Canadian documentary tells the story of Calvin Jones. A 1952 graduate of Steubenville High School, Jones went on to star at the University of Iowa and earn a spot with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League. Sadly, he lost his life on Dec. 9, 1956, when a plane he was a passenger on crashed in the Canadian Rockies.

The film was shown earlier this year on Canada's TSN cable sports network as part of an eight-film series commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Grey Cup, the CFL's equivalent to the National Football League's Lombardi Trophy.

While Paul Cowan and Infield Fly Productions are responsible for the film, Steubenville's Patti West, the niece of Jones, was instrumental in finding local residents who knew her uncle when he was growing up. The film also allowed Jones' son Edwin Harrison I and his son, Edwin "Boomer" Harrison II to visit Steubenville for the first time and connect with family members they had never met.

Jones remains one of the greatest football players not only of his generation, but of the all time. The lineman won varsity letters at Iowa in 1953, 1954 and 1955. In 1955, he became the first African-American to win the Outland Trophy, presented annually to the country's best lineman.

He became the first African-American to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine. Mark Kaufman's iconic photograph of Jones graced the cover the Sept. 27, 1954, edition. The magazine also named him as one of 50 Greatest Sports Figures from Ohio in its Dec. 27, 1999, edition.

Jones was one of three great athletes who made the trip from Steubenville to play at the University of Iowa in the 1950s. Stars in their won right, Frank Gilliam went on to become the longtime director of player personnel for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League, while the late Edward "Punkin" Vincent served as mayor of Inglewood, Calif., and in the California Senate.

Following the screening of the film, a reception will be held in the commons area that will include discussions about Jones and the role he played in Big Red athletics.

We hope area residents will take advantage of the opportunity to view the film and participate in the discussions. By doing so, they will ensure that the story of Jones and his success will continue to be shared by future generations.

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