Harrison Brooks “Honey” Fitch (c. 1912–June 11, 1984) was UConn’s first Black basketball player and the only Black student at the time — 1932 to 1934. Popular among his fellow students at what was then known as Connecticut State College, Fitch routinely faced racism from opposing players and fans, culminating at a match against the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, on Jan. 27, 1934. The Coast Guard team refused to play against a Black athlete. UConn’s coach John Heldman caved under pressure and kept Fitch on the bench the entire game. An outraged UConn student body voted 169–7 to fire Heldman, who resigned a year later.
More about Fitch and this incident are now on Wikipedia thanks to UConn librarian Michael Rodriguez, who has made a mission of getting UConn better represented on the world’s largest encyclopedia. He has written 80-plus Wiki articles on faculty, alumni, and others associated with the University. Fitch’s bio ended up being featured on Wikipedia’s front page and was read 11,945 times in one day — giving long overdue recognition to one of UConn’s own.
Photo 1933 Nutmeg yearbook