Delay of Game exhibit captures history of African American Packers players

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- As the Green Bay Packers celebrates 100 years of football this season, the Neville Public Museum is telling the story of a shorter history surrounding Packers football.

In 1950, Bob Mann made history with the Green Bay Packer after becoming the team's first African-American player.

"He contributed what he had to give for the purpose and it worked out well," said Vera Mann, Bob Mann's wife.

"You might go to schools or you might go to parties where there aren't many minorities, but to literally be the only one playing, the only one in town, I think that's a huge responsibility," said Marilyn Matthews, Bob Mann's daughter.

A member of the Packers Hall of Fame, Mann passed away in 2006; but his wife and two daughters are in Green Bay to celebrate an exhibit at the Neville Public Museum, Delay of Game, that starts with Mann.

"The exhibit is really about African-American players from then on, up through today, and it's about some of the challenges they faced back in the 50's and 60's," said Lisa Kain, Neville Public Museum Curator. "Some they still face today, but also the contributions they make to our community, on and off the field."

Mann's career with the Packers lasted four years. His family says it was a time he cherished.

"He definitely felt like while he was in town, he was treated well and appreciated being here," said Marilyn.

On the road for away games; however, especially in the south, a much different story, as Mann often had to stay in a different hotel from the rest of the team and eat at a different restaurant.

"Those were indignities and injustices that he said were just politics, that he just had to deal with it and move forward because he was passionate about football and he was making a difference for people out there, the rest of America who was watching him," said Marjorie Mann, Bob Mann's daughter.

Mann's family is grateful for the exhibit, which opens Saturday.

"Very pleased at this late date that he's still of interest to people and they want to learn more about his life and works," said Vera.

"The more you can learn about another culture, about somebody else, because we're all the same under the skin, aren't we really," said Marjorie.