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April Yoder

best known as the youngest of Major League Baseball’s Alou brothers, was born on 24 March 1942 in rural Bajos de Haina, Dominican Republic. The fourth of six children born to José Rojas, a carpenter and blacksmith, and homemaker Virginia Alou, Jesús María Rojas Alou attended secondary school in Santo Domingo. He left school at the age of 15, before completing his degree, to play professional baseball. Horacio Martínez, the scout who signed his brothers Felipe and Mateo, saw the potential for the youngest Alou to play in one of US baseball’s major leagues (the American League and the National League) despite his preference for fishing over formalized baseball.

Alou began his career in the Dominican Republic as a bullpen pitcher for the Leones del Escogido Escogido Lions and spent his first season in US baseball as a pitcher with the San Francisco Giants affiliate in Hastings Nebraska During the ...

Article

Larry R. Gerlach

baseball umpire, was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Littleton Ashford, a truck driver, and Adele Bain. Ashford was two or three years old when his father abandoned the family, so he grew up under the strong influence of his mother, a secretary for the California Eagle, an African American newspaper published in Los Angeles. As a youth, Ashford exhibited the traits that marked him in adult life as a gregarious extrovert. At Jefferson High School he was a sprinter on the track team, a member of the scholastic honor society, and the first African American to serve as president of the student body and as editor of the school newspaper. He graduated from Los Angeles City College and attended Chapman College in nearby Orange from 1940 to 1941. From 1944 until 1947 he served in the U.S. Navy.

Ashford began his umpiring career ...

Article

Terence M. Mashingaidze

nationalist politician, first titular president of independent Zimbabwe, statesman, peace broker, clergyman, author, soccer administrator, academic, poet, and journalist, was born on 5 March 1936 at Esiphezini, in Essexvale (now Esigodini) District near Bulawayo in Southern Rhodesia. The versatile Banana’s father, Aaron, was a migrant laborer from Malawi while his mother, Jese, was a Zimbabwean Ndebele woman. Banana married Janet Mbuyazwe in 1961; the marriage produced three sons and a daughter. Banana attended Mzinyati primary school and Tegwani High School. He trained as a teacher at Tegwani Training Institute and then attended Epworth Theological Seminary, resulting in his ordination as a Methodist preacher in 1962 Subsequently he worked as a Methodist schools manager principal chairperson of the Bulawayo Council of Churches and member of the Rhodesian Christian Council and World Council of Churches In the 1970s Banana attained a BA with honors in theology through distance learning from ...

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Adam R. Hornbuckle

His mother’s maiden name was Jones. Carey graduated from Santa Clara University in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in Biology. A running back on the SCU football team, he played for four years until an ankle injury ended his playing career. In 1972 Carey began officiating Pop Warner football games in San Diego and, in 1985, became a college football referee for the Western Athletic Conference. In 1990 the National Football League (NFL) hired him as a line judge and in 1995 promoted him to referee. Carey, who became the second African American referee in the NFL since Johnny Grier in 1988, served as an alternate official for Super Bowl XXXVI between the New England Patriots and the St. Louis Rams on 3 February 2002.

On 3 October 2005 Carey officiated the game between the Green Bay Packers and the Carolina Panthers with his older brother ...

Article

Charles Boehm

was born Clive Michael Charles in East London, England, the youngest of Moister and Jessica Charles’ nine children. Jessica raised the children mostly on her own after Moister was lost at sea when Clive was six years of age.

After spending his childhood playing soccer in the rough streets of their industrial neighborhood, at age twelve Clive followed his older brother John into the academy system at West Ham United FC, East London’s most successful club. He and his brother were among the first wave of black players to enter the sport, representing an epochal cultural shift in English soccer.

From 1971 to 1972 Charles was loaned out by West Ham to Olympique Montreal a club in the recently established North American Soccer League NASL a daring attempt to bring the world s most popular game to the United States and Canada soccer s final frontier Though he would ...

Article

James R. Grossman

politician, was born in Malta, Illinois, the son of William Jackson and Sarah Cooper. He spent most of his childhood in Chicago. At age nine he began selling newspapers and shining shoes in Chicago's central business district; he left school in the eighth grade to work full-time. By age eighteen Robert had garnered an appointment as a clerk in the post office, a position coveted by African Americans in this era because of its security compared to that of most other occupations open to them. He left the postal service as an assistant superintendent in 1909 to devote himself full-time to his printing and publishing business, the Fraternal Press. In partnership with Beauregard F. Mosely, in 1910 he cofounded the Leland Giants, Chicago's first African American baseball team. In 1912 Jackson won election as a Republican to the state legislature From there he moved to the ...

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Adam R. Hornbuckle

and first African American official in the National Football League (NFL), was born Burl Abron Toler in Memphis, Tennessee, to Arnold Toler and Annie King Toler. Burl was one of four children, three sons and one daughter, whose father worked as a Pullman porter and whose mother operated a small store and boardinghouse. Toler attended Manassas High School, a segregated school in Memphis. Despite standing six feet two inches and weighing over two hundred pounds, he did not participate in high school sports because of a severe burn on his arm, which resulted from an accident while disposing of a vat of cooking grease. After graduating from high school in 1946, Toler briefly attended LeMoyne (now LeMoyne-Owen) College in Memphis before an uncle who lived in Oakland, California encouraged him to move to the San Francisco Bay Area to continue his education.

After moving to San Francisco Toler entered ...

Article

Adam R. Hornbuckle

His father worked as a truck driver, and Whitfield grew up in Los Angeles, where his family moved when was four years old. Soon after relocating to California, his father died, as did his mother when he was twelve years old; his older sister Betty Clark gained legal custody of him to prevent him from being sent to an orphanage. In 1932 Whitfield snuck into the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where the Olympic Games were being held, and witnessed Eddie Tolan and Ralph Metcalfe finish first and second, respectively, in the 100 meters, an event which inspired him to become a championship runner. After graduating Thomas Jefferson High School in 1943, he joined the U.S. Army Air Forces, and served in the racially segregated group known as the Tuskegee Airmen.

After the end of World War II in 1945 Whitfield continued to serve in the U S Army ...

Article

Donna L. Halper

for the Negro American League, was born John Lake Caution, Jr. in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the oldest of four children of John Lake Caution, a mill worker, and his wife Annie C. (Collins). Annie Collins’ mother, Julia C. Collins, authored the first non-autobiographical novel by an African American woman to appear in print, The Curse of Caste; or the Slave Bride (1865).

Frank s early years were difficult his mother died when he was five and several years later his father was killed in a mill accident He and his siblings were taken in by their paternal uncle and aunt Cornelius and Ella Caution who lived in Cambridge Massachusetts However Ella died a few months later and the four children were sent to an orphanage where they were all eventually adopted his sister Ethel by a Boston widow named Mary M Davis his brother Russell by an aunt ...