1987 Greater Flint Afro-American Hall of Fame Inductee
Category: MULTIPLE SPORTS
Wife: Anna Mae
Daughters: Betty, Joanne, Glenda, Jimmie
The Lawson family came to Flint in 1919 from South Carolina.
Joe, a quiet and lean youngster who possessed a lot of natural ability, was a true lover of sports. He played on the great Yellow Dogs Softball Championship team of 1936 and later with other teams in the area.
In 1937 and 1938 he was a two-sport star at Northern High School in football and track. He was an outstanding two way football player at the positions of safety on defense and right halfback on offense. Joe was noted for making great tackles and pass interceptions at crucial times.
His coach, the late Guy Houston, and opposing coaches paid Lawson high compliments. Dedication, reliability and consistency were his trademark throughout his entire sports career.
Most of his many touchdown runs were 30 yards or more. He had the record at Northern for the longest run from the line of scrimmage which was 87 yards; scored two touchdowns and passed for a third in the traditional Thanksgiving Day football game, Northern vs Central in 1938. Northern became City, Saginaw Valley and State Champions that same year (1938) and Lawson was selected as the Saginaw Valley All-Star right halfback.
In the 1937-38 city track meet, he was Northern’s most outstanding track man. He set six records in the 100 yard dash, 10.2 seconds and the 220 yard dash 23.1 seconds. At Dort Field he set records in the 100 yard dash, 10.2 seconds and 220 yard dash, 23.1 seconds. On Northern’s field he set records of 10.1 seconds in the 100 yard dash and 22.25 seconds in the 220 yard dash. In 1938 Lawson scored the most points in a track season at Northern. He was also rated as one of the top three sprinters in the State in 1937 and 1938.