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Andre D. Vann

university chancellor, track coach, and first African American Olympic head coach and president of the United States Olympic Committee, was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the youngest of thirteen children of Willie and Mary Ann Thomas Walker. He was nine when his father died and was sent to Harlem, New York to live with his older brother Joe, who owned several businesses. He later dropped out of school before entering the twelfth grade to serve as a personal valet to bandleader Jimmie Lunceford of the Jimmie Lunceford Band.

He was later persuaded to return to school to complete his last year. He returned to Atlanta and graduated from the segregated Booker T. Washington High School in 1936. A multi-sport athlete in high school and college, Walker received a scholarship and later entered Benedict College in South Carolina, in the fall of 1936 where he was an ...