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Darryl Hill

Football great Darryl Andre Hill was born on October 21, 1943 in Washington, D.C. He is the eldest child of Palestine and Kermit Hill. Hill attended Nevell Thomas and Mott Elementary Schools in Washington, D.C. before attending Holy Name, a private Catholic school in Washington. Hill broke the color barrier on the football field when he enrolled at Gonzaga College High School and graduated in 1960.

From 1960 to 1961, Hill attended Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio on a football scholarship. After a year, he transferred to the plebe team of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland where he broke the color barrier once again as the first African American football player on that team. A starting half back with Navy, Hill caught passes from the now famous quarterback, Roger Staubach. In 1962, Hill left the Naval Academy for the University of Maryland in College Park when he became the first African American to play football in the Atlantic Coast Conference. In 1965, Hill received his B.S. degree in economics from the University of Maryland.

After graduation from Maryland, Hill opened a restaurant in Washington, D.C., called W.H. Bone, which was one of the city’s first upscale soul food restaurants. Hill left the restaurant business in 1992 and moved to the West Coast where he ran several successful energy related companies. In 2001, Hill entered into several forestry and packaging ventures in the former Soviet Union. In 2003, Hill returned to his alma mater as the director of major gifts at the University of Maryland.

Hill is the father of three, Tami, Patrick and Maia. He currently resides in Columbia, Maryland and is active in 100 Black Men and The Terrapin Club.

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Holy Name Catholic School

Gonzaga High School

Xavier University

United States Naval Academy

University of Maryland

Gonzaga College High School

Nevell Thomas Elementary School

Mott Elementary School

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Speakers Bureau


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District of Columbia

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Southern France

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Call It What You Like.

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District of Columbia

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Football player Darryl Hill (1943 - ) was the first African American football player at the U.S. Naval Academy and in Atlantic Coast Conference while attending University of Maryland.


W.H. Bone, Savoy, and Wildwood

Northstar International

University of Maryland, College Park

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Timing Pairs

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Darryl Hill interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Darryl Hill's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Darryl Hill discusses his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Darryl Hill discusses his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Darryl Hill discusses his grandparents' backgrounds

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Darryl Hill recounts early childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Darryl Hill describes growing up with his younger brother

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Darryl Hill describes his childhood environs

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Darryl Hill recounts stories from his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Darryl Hill discusses his elementary school years

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Darryl Hill recalls the role of the church in his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Darryl Hill recalls his early role model

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Darryl Hill describes his high school experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Darryl Hill discusses his ambitions before going to college

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Darryl Hill describes his high school football career

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Darryl Hill describes his college football career

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Darryl Hill describes his time at the United States Naval Academy

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Darryl Hill discusses how he got to the University of Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Darryl Hill details racial encounters during his college football career, part I

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Darryl Hill details racial encounters during his college football career, part II

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Daryll Hill discusses his transition into a business career

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Darryl Hill describes his first business endeavors

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Darryl Hill discusses his business ventures in Russia and Buryatia

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Darryl Hill discusses his return to the University of Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Darryl Hill reflects on his life as a trailblazer

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Darryl Hill evaluates his legacy and the importance of history

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Photo - Darryl Hill plays football for the U.S. Naval Academy, 1961

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Photo - Darryl Hill's great-grandmother, 1877

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Photo - Darryl Hill plays football for Gonzaga College High School in the league championship game, Washington, D.C., 1959

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Photo - Darryl Hill plays football for Gonzaga College High School in the city championship game, Washington, D.C., 1959

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Photo - Darryl Hill's great-grandfather, ca. 1900

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Photo - Darryl Hill's mother on her wedding day, 1940

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Photo - Darryl Hill's father, ca. 1990

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Photo - Darryl Hill, age two, 1945

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Photo - Darryl Hill's mother at age sixteen during her senior year of high school, ca. 1937

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Photo - Darryl Hill, age five, at Christmas, 1948

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Photo - Darryl Hill as an infant, 1943

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Photo - Darryl Hill, #25, in team photo of the University of Maryland football squad, College Park, Maryland, 1963

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Photo - Darryl Hill catches a touchdown pass against the U.S. Air Force Academy, College Park, Maryland, 1963

Tape: 5 Story: 14 - Photo - Darryl Hill in a publicity photo for University of Maryland's football team, College Park, Maryland, 1963

Tape: 5 Story: 15 - Photo - Darryl Hill with an army veteran and his wife, Moscow, Russia, 1992

Tape: 5 Story: 16 - Photo - Darryl Hill scuba-dives at Playa Blanca, Mexico, 1989

Tape: 5 Story: 17 - Photo - Darryl Hill's mother upon receiving a Master's degree, ca. 1950

Tape: 5 Story: 18 - Photo - Darryl Hill receives an award for a theatrical performance, ca. 1951

Tape: 5 Story: 19 - Photo - Darryl Hill named honorary captain at a University of Maryland football game, College Park, Maryland, 1992

Tape: 5 Story: 20 - Photo - Darryl Hill hosts Maynard Jackson at his restaurant, Wildwood, Atlanta, Georgia, 2002







Darryl Hill describes his time at the United States Naval Academy
Daryll Hill discusses his transition into a business career
How did you end up leaving Xavier [University, Cincinnati, Ohio] and going to the [U.S.] Naval Academy [Annapolis, Maryland]?$$Well one day my mother [Palestine Smith Hill] called me and said "If I get you an appointment to Annapolis would you go?" Now this was like April, and at that time the military academies were very prestigious and very much in demand and very difficult to get in. You know you had to be appointed by your congressman or by the President of the United States, or your father had to be a Congressional Medal of Honor winner. There were several ways to get in but primarily through congressional appointment. And I knew that these appointments had closed, not to mention the fact that being from Washington, D.C., we didn't have a congressman. But there was a provision where D.C. cadets could, I mean, midshipmen from D.C. could get in. I can't remember what it was. But anyway, so I said, "Sure." You know I knew that the appointments had closed in January. Next thing I know I get this letter from the president of the United States that said, "Congratulations Midshipman Hill. You've been accepted to the United States Naval Academy. Report for duty June 28th, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah." I said get out of here. Couldn't believe it. Next thing I know I'm going down there, put all my civilian clothes in a suitcase and gave them back to my parents [Kermit E. Hill and Palestine Smith Hill], you know, shaved my hair off and I was a Midshipman. It, it happened so fast I didn't have time to think about it.$$What was that like for you, especially being someone who was mischievous and a practical joker? This was, was it a very different environment for you?$$Oh very different. You know, here now you got to shine your shoes, make up your bed, get up at six o'clock [A.M.], you know had to be neat, had to have everything in place. And surprisingly I, I didn't do that badly at it you know. I didn't have, I think I was kind of in the middle of the pack, you know in terms of military you know discipline. So it was, you know I, I would have thought I would have done worse than I did, and it didn't really bother me that much once I got into the routine of doing it so, no, that, that wasn't, that wasn't a, a big deal. What, what I did find out though was I didn't want to be in the [U.S.] Navy. You know, I basically didn't like the attitudes. I think at that time the Navy was still elitist and racist, and I didn't really want much parts of that. So, but you know, if you went to Naval Academy, you didn't have to go in the Navy. I mean you had an option. You could go in the [U.S.] Marines or you could go into any branch of the service, really, technically. Even though most people, very few people did. A lot of people went into the Marines which is part of the Navy. And so--.$$What years were you at the Naval Academy?$$I was there for one year from '62 [1962], from '61 [1961] to '62 [1962].$At this time, what were you thinking you were going to do with your life? Were you thinking you were going to become a professional athlete? What were you thinking you were going to do?$$No, I thought that I would probably graduate and go on to develop a career. You know, I thought I had a shot but I was a little guy at a time when didn't too many little guys play in the NFL [National Football League]. They changed the rules now, you know. I, I--if they had the rules they had then I probably would still be playing. I was a receiver, and now they have rules where you can't even touch a receiver after he runs five yards down field. Well, if you let me run five miles I'm going to run away from you. But at that time you know they didn't have those rules and the receivers were bigger, tougher you know, 'cause of defensive backs, guys like Jack Tatum for example you know were beating on me all the time you know. So, so I didn't you know I didn't, I wasn't hanging my hat on you know pros you know. I gave it a shot, went up to the [New York] Jets [pro football team], hung around a couple of years you know I kind of on and off, mostly practice squad and you know I just came back and went to grad [graduate] school [University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland].$$And so after you went to grad school, what was next for you?$$Well then I wound up running an agency called the Anacostia Economic Development Corporation, which was a community development agency out in Anacostia section of Washington [D.C.]. And I went from there to being the director of the Greater Washington Business Center, which had basically same mission but for the entire region. And I did that for ten years, which a big part of that was minority business development, and this was in the '70s [1970s] when minority business was kind of just emerging. So I worked diligently at that and, and I enjoyed that you know. I, it's a nice feeling to go to work everyday and have some meaning in what you're doing, you know. And all of these jobs had great meanings, and they were great learning platforms. So I learned a lot, and you know ultimately transferred that learning into my own business use.