Riley Leonard shares family impact on Black History Month

Notre Dame football quarterback Riley Leonard's family got involved in the fight for civil rights decades ago from on high in government.

NCAA Football Duke quarterback Riley Leonard
NCAA Football Duke quarterback Riley Leonard / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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As the Notre Dame football program celebrates and pays homage to Black History Month, the Fighting Irish's newest quarterback, Riley Leonard, shared his family's legacy regarding the fight for civil rights in this country.

Leonard participated in a video that the Notre Dame football team shared on social media over the weekend. In that video he made it clear that black history is the country's history and then he talked about how his family's history intersects.

Leonard then shared that his grandfather, Jerris Leonard was the assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. The Notre Dame football quarterback then explained that his grandfather worked in the 60s and 70s to desegregate schools in the 11 southern and border states that were resisting the government's push to do just that.

Leonard pointed out that his grandfather had a fight right in his home state of Alabama as part of his job. Something that might not have made him all that popular among people in his own community.

The quarterback pointed out that his grandfather effected real change and even went from town to town making sure that schools were enforcing the new desegregation policies. And that work paid off.

When Jerris Leonard took office, only 33 percent of black students in the south were attending integrated schools. A year later, that number rose all the way up to 88 percent of black students.

Riley Leonard shares family impact on Black History Month

The Notre Dame football quarterback closed the video by talking about how he often thinks how different his life in Alabama was because of what the heroes of the civil rights movement did during that important time in American history.

The Riley Leonard video shows that the new Fighting Irish signal caller understands how important what happened was, even if there's work to do. It also shows that Notre Dame football has a man under center this year with a great head on his shoulders.