Ernie Davis, halfback for Syracuse University

Fun Fact about the Syracuse area …. did you know …..

…. …. that Ernie Davis, halfback for Syracuse University, was the first African-American to be awarded the coveted Heisman Memorial Trophy in 1961. Davis, who wore the legendary #44 for Syracuse University, was born near Pittsburgh, PA and moved to Elmira, NY. Nicknamed the “Elmira Express”, Davis also was the first African-American member of Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity, a nationally recognized Jewish fraternity. In 1962, he was the #1 NFL draft choice, picked up by the Washington Redskins and traded to the Cleveland Browns. Never having the opportunity to play professionally, Davis was diagnosed with leukemia in 1962 and passed away at age 23 in 1963. He is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Elmira, the same cemetery that Mark Twain is buried.

Attached, please find this week’s edition of the Friday Facts. For details on any of these events or others down the road, take a gander at our website at

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Linda Woodrow
Executive Assistant & Marketing Coordinator
Syracuse Convention & Visitors Bureau
CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity
572 South Salina St., Syracuse, NY 13202
Phone: 315-470-1913 | Fax: 315-471-8545