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Wilbert "Huff" Royal

royal crop

Marker is located at Shellem-Royal Field, on the Ohio Avenue side

Marker text:

1948-1996
Born in Clinton, North Carolina, Wilbert Royal made Atlantic City his home after receiving his Master's Degree at North Carolina A&T University. Affectionately known as "Huff," he spent many summers in Atlantic City working as a Bellhop at the Lombardy Motel and singing at Eddy's Bar. He was general manager of the Fabulous Club Harlem and also worked as a Teacher, Social Worker and Neighborhood Facilities Coordinator for the Atlantic City School District. Huff was a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. The NAACP, and Union Baptist Temple where he taught Sunday school. He received many community service awards for his involvement in civic and professional organizations. He was the N.J. Black Achievement & Awards Foundation's "Personality of the Decade" in 1988. Huff's greatest legacy can be found in his 20 years spent as a coach for the Atlantic City Dolphins Football Team, a commitment to guide young men through the difficulties of adolescence.

 

Additional information:
"Huff" Royal was a dedicated football coach. So dedicated, in fact, that some say his nickname partially came from the way he would bellow orders to his players on the field. Above all, however, his passion was not for the game, but for the kids that were playing it. In talking about his devotion to the youth community, Huff once said, "I need to help these kids get their heads screwed on so they can grow up to be men and mature members of society." As Supervisor of Community Education for Atlantic City's Public Schools system, Huff viewed education as "the great equalizer." In addition, he also served as President of both the Atlantic City Educational Association and the Educational Supervisors Union. Huff ran for City Council twice, and was always fighting for the rights of Atlantic City residents. As a show of gratitude for his many years of educational and community service, the Shellem-Royal Field, where the Atlantic City Dolphins play, was named for him and for Robert P. Shellem, a Venice Park resident who like Royal had a lifelong commitment to youth sports. Shellem was killed in action while serving with the Marine Corps in Vietnam.

For more information, see these resources in the Atlantic City Free Public Library, Atlantic City Heritage Collections:
Johnson, Nelson: The Northside
Black News and Events, Vol. 8, No. 8, September 1996