The former high school football star who was a key figure in the story which inspired Remember The Titans has died.
In the 1970s, Julius Campbell Jr. was a defensive linesman for the T.C. Williams high school, a school situated in a racially divided area of Alexandria, Virginia.
The school had became racially integrated in 1971, with the student bodies of three schools in the area combined as one.
Alexandria converted T.C. Williams into the only building for upperclassmen, sending the lowerclassmen to Francis Hammond and George Washington Junior High schools. This resulted in racial tensions, particularly among those from the majority white school of Francis Hammond.
Campbell Jr died as a result of organ failure, aged 65.
Wood Harris (The Wire) portrayed Campbell in the hit biographical sports drama. The movie followed the journey of the Titans during their 1971 football season, culminating in a 27-0 victory against Andrew Lewis High School of Salem at the Virginia AAA state championship.
According to The Washington Post, Herman Boone, Titans’ coach from 1971 to 1979, has made the following statement:
Julius was very, very instrumental on that team at simply getting kids to just talk to one another, kids who never talked to kids from another race their entire lives,
By doing so, they learned many things about each other that were not passed down to them and for that, the world owes Julius a debt of gratitude.
Boone, who was portrayed by Denzel Washington in Remember The Titans, proceeded to praise Campbell’s abilities to bring the team together:
Julius took it upon himself to lead the team and rebuild race relations, He talked to members of the team even up at Gettysburg about how we could come together.
It was Julius who came up with the saying that our team is a team of one group of people with ‘one vision.’ And in order to win we must have ‘one heartbeat’.
Remember The Titans, which was released in 2000, focuses on the developing friendship between Campbell (Harris) and white linebacker Gerry Bertier (Ryan Hurst, Sons of Anarchy).
In the movie, the close bond between the two players is depicted as being integral to the ultimate success of the group as a whole, with Campbell and Bertier both showing great leadership skills.
Watched Remember the Titans last night and just read that Julius Campbell passed away. #RIPTitan
— Jeff Lamrock (@jlamrock22) January 26, 2019
Denzel Washington in Remember the Titans (2000) pic.twitter.com/Kw6ZbaO5Hs
— Frame Found (@framefound) January 28, 2019
An ankle injury reportedly put a stop to Campbell’s dreams of an athletic career. He went on to work for the animal control departments of Alexandria and Prince George’s County.
Campbell’s wife of 29 years, Cathy Campbell, reportedly confirmed her husband’s death, stating:
He was a very kind, compassionate human being. If you met him, you loved him.
As an older man, Campbell continued to be a strong voice for encouraging positive race relations. Up until he was forced to stop due to health issues, Campbell would speak publicly about how the Titans had overcome racial barriers to become one, unified team.
Remember the Titans is such a good movie
— K8 (@katelynn2372) January 28, 2019
I had to watch Remember the Titans for an assignment at school and wow… seriously it's one of the best movies i've ever watched. 10/10 recommend if you haven't already seen it
— Kaitlyn (@Kaitlyn1028) January 28, 2019
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Julius Campbell Jr. at this difficult time.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications. When not Lad-ing about, she enjoys cooking, reading and trying not to fall over in Yoga.