William Henry Lewis (November 28, 1868 – January 1, 1949) was an African-American pioneer in athletics, law and politics. Born in Virginia as the son of freedmen, he went North to college, where he became the first African-American college football player, and the first in the sport to be selected as an All-American. In 1903 Lewis was the first African American to be appointed as an Assistant United States Attorney; in 1910 he was the first to be appointed as one of the five United States Assistant Attorney Generals, despite opposition by the Southern Democratic block; and in 1911 he was the first African American to be admitted to the American Bar Association.
When Lewis was appointed as an Assistant Attorney General in 1910, it was reported to be “the highest office in an executive branch of the government ever held by a member of that race.” Before being appointed as an AAG, Lewis served for 12 years as a football coach at Harvard University. During that period, he wrote one of the first books on football tactics and was considered a nationally known expert on the game.