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McKay Jenkins

tennis player, author, and political activist, was born Arthur Robert Ashe Jr. in Richmond, Virginia, the son of Arthur Ashe Sr., a police officer, and Mattie Cunningham. Tall and slim as a young boy, Ashe was forbidden by his father to play football; he took up tennis instead on the segregated playground courts at Brookfield Park, near his home. By the time he was ten years old he came under the tutelage of a local tennis fan and physician from Lynchburg, R. Walter Johnson. Johnson had previously nurtured the talents of Althea Gibson, who became the first African American to win Wimbledon, in 1957 and 1958, and his second protégé would prove no less successful. Johnson was an exacting coach he had his charges practice hitting tennis balls with broom handles to develop their hand eye coordination But his lessons extended beyond tennis he also ...

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Alonford James Robinson

Arthur Ashe was born July 10, 1943, in Richmond, Virginia, to Mattie and Arthur Robert Ashe Sr. He began playing Tennis at the age of ten under the guidance of Dr. Walter Johnson, a prominent coach of African American youth from Lynchburg, Virginia. With Johnson's coaching, Ashe won three American Tennis Association (ATA) boy's championships, becoming the first African American junior to be ranked by the United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA).

Between 1960 and 1963 Ashe won three ATA men's singles titles, became the first African American on the U.S. Junior Davis Cup team, and the first African American to win a USLTA national title in the South. His achievements earned him a full scholarship to the University of California at Los Angeles, where he attended from 1961 to 1966 earning a bachelor s degree in business administration While in college Ashe won the U ...

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Rachelle Gold

basketball player. A legendary basketball player, Wilt Chamberlain was a gifted offensive shooter who scored and rebounded prolifically. In the 1961–1962 season, averaging 50 points a game, he became the first and only National Basketball Association (NBA) athlete ever to score 4,000 points in a season. Through his fourteen-year playing career Chamberlain—a center who was seven feet one inch tall—set NBA single-game records for the most points (100), the most consecutive field goals, and the most rebounds. Not only was he the NBA scoring leader for seven years in a row, but he also was the league's top rebounder in 11 out of his 14 seasons. Ultimately Chamberlain scored 31,419 points in his career.

Born in Philadelphia, Wilton Norman Chamberlain was one of nine children born to and raised by William a welder and a janitor and Olivia a domestic worker Although at first Chamberlain was interested in ...

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Maud C. Mundava

basketball player and coach, actor, and author Born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr and known early on as Lew he was a very big baby about 13 pounds and 22 inches He grew up in a racially mixed middle class neighborhood in Manhattan as the only child of Al Alcindor and Cora Alcindor Al Alcindor was originally from Trinidad and he was a fairly successful jazz musician and a New York City Transit Authority police officer Jabbar grew up a Catholic and attended St Jude s Elementary School and a boys only Catholic school Power Memorial Academy He was a shy and withdrawn child because he was taller than most of the kids his age but he showed a lot of determination in pursuit of excellence He always wanted to be the best As a result of his values and upbringing Jabbar was well spoken stayed out of ...

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Gerald Early

Despite the tissue of untruths that fill In the Ring—and Out, Jack Johnson's 1927 autobiography, there is little doubt that even here he remained unyieldingly the auteur of his own mythology, that is, on the one indisputably true claim he made about the book. He wrote the book himself, without a ghost-writer. He is one of only, at best, a handful of star athletes who can say that.

Born in Galveston, Texas, on 31 March 1878, Johnson was the most charismatic and the most notorious African American figure in the American popular culture of his day.

He became the first black heavyweight champion in 1908. Johnson's fight against great white hope, Jim Jeffries, in July 1910 was the most discussed sporting event in American history at the time Johnson easily won the fight but race riots broke out all over the country afterward In Cuba in ...

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Gerald Early

Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born in 1919 in Cairo, Georgia, and grew up in Pasadena, California. He was a star athlete in high school and junior college before becoming an athletic legend at the University of California at Los Angeles from 1939 to 1941, playing football, baseball, basketball, and competing in track and field. He joined the army in 1942 and was discharged as a lieutenant in 1945 after breaking a white bus driver's jaw in a disagreement about moving to the back of the bus.

Robinson was selected by Branch Rickey, general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, to become the first African American to play Major League baseball in the twentieth century. Entering the big leagues in 1947 Robinson had to abide by an agreement he made with Rickey not to be provoked to retaliation by taunts from white players and fans Robinson endured racial epithets ...

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Vincent A. Shivers

football Hall of Famer, author, and business executive. Gale Eugene Sayers was born in Wichita, Kansas. In 1951, after the death of Gale's grandfather, the family moved to Nebraska. In Nebraska, Sayers began his career as an athlete, joining the Midget Football League and becoming a standout. At Omaha's Central High School he was an exceptional track-and-field athlete, receiving three gold medals. As a senior he set a statewide record in the long jump. Sayers was named to the All-Midwestern and All-American high school football teams. He signed several letters of intent for football scholarships. Institutions such as Iowa State and Notre Dame were interested in Sayers, but he decided on the University of Kansas at Lawrence.

Sayers earned the nickname the Kansas Comet because of his remarkable skills as a running back While a freshman Sayers struggled with his classes fortunately that same year he ...

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Paul A. Frisch

sportswriter, was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of John Henry Smith, a chef for the industrialist Henry Ford, and Gertrude (Thompson) Smith. He was the only African American student enrolled in Detroit's Southeastern High School and was a member of the school's baseball team. He earned a BS in Education from West Virginia State College, where he played basketball and served as sports editor of the newspaper.

Upon graduation in 1937 he accepted a position at the Pittsburgh Courier, a prominent black weekly newspaper. After only a year he became the sports editor. In addition to covering the Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Homestead Grays, baseball teams in the Negro Leagues, he also reported on the National League's Pittsburgh Pirates, the local white baseball team. Smith used his position to campaign for racial integration, particularly the integration of baseball, which had been segregated since 1884 ...

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Amber Karlins

was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Robert and Nancy Teague. Robert was a mechanic and Nancy was a maid. Unfortunately, Nancy died during childbirth, so Bob’s older sister moved home to help raise him.

Growing up Teague s family was poor but the fact that he was a gifted athlete helped open doors for him that might otherwise have been closed He graduated from Lincoln High School in Milwaukee and earned a football scholarship to the University of Wisconsin at Madison but his open criticism of the coach meant he spent the next three years riding the bench Thankfully during Teague s fourth year at Madison the head coach was replaced and Teague was finally given the opportunity to show everyone what he could do on the football field As a result he was offered a position on four professional football teams Despite the fact that joining one of those ...

Article

Sarah L. Trembanis

professional Negro League catcher and major league baseball talent scout, was born in Dublin, Georgia, to Mary and Charles, a sharecropper. Troupe was the youngest of ten children. The Troupe family joined the Great Migration of African Americans fleeing the South for greater opportunities in urban centers in the North. Following a difficult encounter with a white overseer, Troupe's father and two of his older brothers moved to St. Louis in order to find work and secure enough money to bring the rest of the family to Missouri. Troupe stayed behind with his mother and other siblings, and when Troupe was ten years old, his father sent money for train fare, and the family was reunited in St. Louis. The family soon settled in Compton Hill where Troupe attended Touissaint L'Overture Elementary School and Vashon High School in the 1920s.

Troupe competed on both his high school and ...

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Arnold E. Sabatelli

The fiction and nonfiction of John Edgar Wideman moves between worlds of language and experience that are not usually encountered side by side. He was raised in the African-American community of Homewood in Pittsburgh, was a college basketball star for the University of Pennsylvania, and graduated from Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar. His works mix the disparate forces of his life into an artistic form that is both intellectually challenging and experimental in the best sense of the word. A prolific novelist and essayist, Wideman's texts consistently blend voices and genres and challenge the reader. Responding self-consciously to contemporary jazz forms, his later work is filled with free-form ad-libbing, discontinuity, and always a rich integration of voices.