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Samuel W. Black

athlete and physical director, was born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, one of eight children of Allen Dorsey, a shipping clerk, and Mary C. Sparksman. Allegheny City was later incorporated as part of Pittsburgh's north side. The five Dorsey brothers would all earn reputations as accomplished athletes in Pittsburgh's sporting community in the early twentieth century.

As a child Dorsey showed an interest in sports while watching students play basketball in the basement gym of the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. After the death of his father in 1905, he went to work to help support his family. The following year, while working as a janitor on a north side estate, he secretly opened the estate gymnasium for pickup basketball games and soon organized a team with practices held on Sundays. Two of the players who attended were the future Homestead Grays baseball legends Cum Posey and Sellers ...

Article

Claranne Perkins

basketball coach, was born Charlaine Vivian Stoner in Edenborn, Pennsylvania, the oldest of six children of Charles “Buddy” Stoner, a coal miner by day and a talented jazz musician on weekends, and Thelma “Bird” Stoner. Siblings included Verna, Tim, Madeline, Richelle “Ricky,” and Jack.

Stringer was named Charlaine after her father; she states in her memoir, “it's so much of a boy's name, which is why I never use it. Not that it matters—these days; pretty much everyone assumes that the C stands for Coach” (Stringer, p. 36). As a young girl in Edenborn, Stringer spent a lot of time playing football and basketball with the boys and playing softball. “I always just wanted to play,” Stringer said. “Playing for the sake of playing was enough for me” (Stringer, p. 29).

Since there were no girls teams in her high school Stringer decided to ...

Article

Joan S. Hult

Stringer is the most significant black basketball coach in the history of the women’s game. In 2001, she became one of the first black women inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Equally as impressive, Sports Illustrated recognized her in 2003 as one of the “101 Most Influential Minorities in Sports.” From the 1980s into the early twenty-first century, Stringer was committed to breaking gender and race-related barriers. Her leadership and the respect she commanded as an exceptionally talented coach enabled her to become the first black woman head coach of a United States national women’s basketball team. Her squad won a bronze medal in the 1991 Pan American Games in Havana, Cuba. She successfully coached the 1989 U S World Championship zone qualification team Leading three different programs from obscurity to national prominence in her three decades as a head coach she is the only coach ...

Article

Chris Elzey

track coach, teacher, and administrator, was born Stanley Van Dorne Wright in Englewood, New Jersey, the son of Spencer Wright, a sanitation worker and truck driver, and Mildred (Prime) Wright, a seamstress and cook. Growing up in a northern city proved no shield from racism. In junior high and high school, Wright had little option but to follow a curriculum for black students that de-emphasized academics. His parents, however, taught him to value education.

Unfortunately, America's involvement in World War II interrupted his schooling. Soon after Pearl Harbor, Wright joined the Army Air Corps. However, he failed to complete pilot training, and his responsibilities at an airbase in Kansas consisted primarily of office tasks. While in the Air Corps, in late 1944, he married Hazel Mathes and they would have four children. In 1945 Wright was reassigned to an airbase in Massachusetts He ...