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Michelle S. Hite

tennis player, activist, broadcast journalist, and humanitarian. Born in Richmond, Virginia, Arthur Robert Ashe Jr. was the son of Arthur and Mattie Ashe. Arthur experienced a traumatic loss at age six when his mother died suddenly. He turned inward and toward books and learning. An excellent student, he graduated first in his high school class. Given his appetite for books, success as a student was likely; however, given his physical stature, his success as a tennis player was a surprise. Though physically small, the skills he honed on the public recreational courts, maintained by his father, helped mold him into a top player.

Coming of age in segregated Richmond Virginia shaped Ashe s early tennis experiences and informed his political consciousness He was not allowed to compete on the city s best courts or in the city s top tournaments To improve his game he ...

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Kyle Partyka

professional basketball player, was born John L. Beaty Jr. in Hillister, Texas, the son of John L. (Zelmo) Beaty Sr. and Etheatta Beaty, a homemaker. Along with his sister, Bernice Beaty, he was raised in the small town of Hillister by his mother; his father died when Beaty was a child. Zelmo attended the segregated Scott High School in Woodville, Texas, where he was recruited in basketball by Prairie View A&M, an historically black college northwest of Houston. After a standout college career, he graduated and was drafted third in the National Basketball Association by the St. Louis (now Atlanta) Hawks in 1962. In 1963 Beaty married his wife, Annie, whom he had met at Prairie View.

Beaty played at the center position and stood at 6 feet 9 inches, weighing 235 pounds. He played seven seasons with the Hawks, winning Rookie of the Year in 1963 ...

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Adam R. Hornbuckle

was born in Laurel, Mississippi, the youngest of ten children born to Peter and Eulalia Boston. His father, who worked as a fireman for the Gulf, Mobile, and Ohio Railroad before losing sight in his right eye, provided for the family by farming, hauling junk, and doing other odd jobs. His mother was a homemaker. As a student at Oak Park High School in Laurel, Boston developed both academic and athletic skills. As quarterback on the football team, he led Oak Park to the African American state high school football championship in 1956. In track and field, Boston excelled in the hurdling, sprinting, and jumping events. As a junior in 1956 he established a national high school record in the 180-yard low hurdles and led Oak Park to the first of two consecutive African American state high school track championships.

After graduating high school in 1957 Boston earned ...

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Stephen Eschenbach

politician, journalist, and Negro League professional baseball pitcher, was born in Charlottesville, Virginia, one of four children. His father was a Baptist minister and his mother was a nurse. His mother wanted him to pursue medicine, but Brown was interested in sports and studying social problems. After preparing at Howard Academy in Washington, D.C., Brown went to Harvard.

Brown majored in economics but also played baseball, lettering as a left-handed pitcher. He worked his way through Harvard as a janitor and waiter. During summer breaks he was a Red Cap at Grand Central Station in New York, and also played in the Negro Leagues. In 1923 and 1924 he pitched for the New York Lincoln Giants Interestingly Harvard usually aggressive about enforcing early NCAA rules barring athletes from playing professional sports apparently did not punish Brown when he played in the professional ranks before returning to the Harvard baseball ...

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David Killingray

Cricketer, politician, and broadcaster born into a middle‐class family in Trinidad. When he left school, he became a clerk in a local company, a post he held for the next ten years until 1927, the year he married Norma Cox. His father was a good cricketer and Constantine also became an excellent fielder. He played for his school and as a member of the Trinidad team in inter‐colonial matches; he was selected for the West Indies team to tour England in 1923, and again in 1928. During that tour Constantine's distinguishing moment came in the match against Middlesex in June 1928 when his skills as bowler, fielder, and scorer enabled the West Indies to defeat their opponents by three wickets. C. L. R. James wrote of him he took 100 wickets made 1 000 runs and laid claim to being the finest fieldsman ever ...

Article

Michelle K. Massie

photojournalist, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the youngest of three sons of William A. and Ella Mae (Taliaferro) Harris. His parents operated the Masio Hotel on Wylie Avenue in Pittsburgh's famed Hill District neighborhood. During the early twentieth century, the Hill District was the mecca of African American life in Pittsburgh. The neighborhood attracted poor and working-class blacks as well as the elites of the sports and entertainment worlds, for it was an area where blacks freely socialized, shopped, worshipped, owned businesses, and lived without having to confront many of the harsh realities of the segregated city. It was this exposure to the richness of black life that influenced Harris's forty-year career as a photojournalist and portrait photographer.

Harris got his nickname at the age of two from a female relative who called him Teenie Little Lover It was later shortened to Teenie Harris came of age during ...

Article

Hall of Fame basketball player, businessman, broadcaster, and AIDS activist, was born in Lansing, Michigan, to Earvin Johnson Sr., a General Motors worker, and Christine, a school custodian. Johnson, often called “Junior” or “June Bug,” was one of nine children and enjoyed playing and practicing basketball from an early age. He attended Everett High School, where he was nicknamed “Magic” by the sportswriter Fred Stabley Jr. after registering thirty-six points, sixteen rebounds, and sixteen assists in a game. In his senior year the team went 27-1 and captured the state title, with Johnson averaging 28.8 points and 16.8 rebounds for the season. He was selected to the McDonald's High School All-American team in 1976 and 1977 After graduation he attended Michigan State University in nearby East Lansing where during his freshman year his varsity team captured the Big Ten Conference title One year later ...

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Sean E. Malone

world-class sprinter and Olympic gold medalist. Michael Duane Johnson was the youngest of five children born to truck driver Paul Johnson Sr. and schoolteacher Ruby Johnson in Dallas, Texas. As a child, Michael's parents encouraged him to work hard, live a disciplined life, and focus on education—ideals embodied by Michael's older siblings, all of whom earned college degrees. As a high school freshman, the talented Johnson refused to join the track team so that he could focus on academics. A superb student-athlete, Johnson graduated from Skyline High School in 1986 and was recruited by Baylor University track coach Clyde Hart, who would become his lifelong mentor.

Under Hart's tutelage, Johnson honed his talents as a sprinter. Competing in multiple events, including the 200 meters, 400 meters, and 4 x 400-meter relay, Johnson was a dominant force. In 1990 alone he won NCAA indoor and outdoor titles in the ...

Article

Steven J. Niven

soccer player, was born Cobi N’gai Jones in Detroit, Michigan, to Dr. Freeman Jones, a research chemist, and Mada Jones (maiden name unknown), a high school teacher. Not long after his birth, Jones and his elder brother moved with their parents to Westlake Village, an affluent community near Los Angeles, California, where Jones would grow up and hone his skills, competing in San Fernando Valley recreational soccer programs from the age of five. His parents, while supportive of Jones's interest in sports and academics, shared the skepticism of many Americans toward soccer, which was perceived as a game for Europeans and Latin Americans. Moreover, even though the black Brazilian Pele symbolized the 1970s National American Soccer League, the league featured no African American stars. Jones's dedication to the sport eventually persuaded his parents to support his choice of soccer.

After lettering in soccer and track at Westlake High from ...

Article

Henry Lyman

poet, boxer, policeman, and journalist, was born Arthur Winslow MacAlpine in Birmingham, Alabama, the third of five children of Francis P. MacAlpine, an Alabamian born in slavery four years before Emancipation, and Mary Winslow, a music teacher from Canada and the first black woman to graduate from the University of New Brunswick. Having met and married in Springfield, Massachusetts, the MacAlpines had moved to Birmingham so that Mary, unable to find employment in the mostly white schools of New England, could teach in a segregated one. In 1919 the promise of a better education for their children persuaded them to return to Springfield, where Francis kept a small convenience store and Mary gave piano and violin lessons.

Poetry and music were paramount in the household Mary who knew countless poems by heart would recite Longfellow Frost and the English romantics sometimes to young Arthur ...

Article

Eric D. Duke

Cheryl Miller is one of the best known figures, male or female, in American basketball. Her successes as a player, coach, and broadcaster secured her place in basketball lore. Along the way, she helped raise the level of and respect for women in the sports as few others have. On the court, she showed that “women have game, too.” Behind the microphone, she has shown that a woman can bring the knowledge and insight of a player to the profession of sports broadcasting.

Cheryl De Ann Miller (also known as Cheryl DeAnne Miller) was born in Riverside, California. She is the third child and oldest daughter of Saul Miller, who worked on computers in both the military and civilian sectors, and Carrie Miller a nurse Growing up with two older brothers Saul Jr and Darrel a younger brother Reggie and a younger sister Tammy Cheryl had plenty ...

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James Fargo Balliett

professional basketball player, sports commentator, and businessman, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Growing up in a tough neighborhood in South Philadelphia, Monroe loved to play soccer and baseball; but by the age of fourteen, he had reached six feet three inches and began drawing the attention of high school basketball coaches. He struggled at first, especially with his coordination and timing, but soon adjusted to the center position. Playing long hours on outdoor asphalt playgrounds, he developed what were known as “shake and bake” moves, which involved using small hesitation movements followed by launching in the air to avoid being blocked by defenders. This earned Monroe the street nickname of “Thomas Edison as he continued to build a repertoire of flukey duke shots fakes and spins to keep opposing players off balance in the rough world of street ball All my style came from the ...

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Jacob Andrew Freedman

baseball player and television analyst, was born in Bonham, Texas, the oldest of the six children of Leonard Morgan and Ollie-Mae Cook. Bonham was a small town of 7,500 when Joe was born and, as in many rural towns with clearly demarcated racial residences, this community conspired to shield its children from the social and psychological scars of segregation. Rather than remembering Bonham's segregation and discrimination, Joe would later recall his close-knit extended family who lived in Bonham until 1948. During this time Joe received his first exposure to organized baseball as the bat boy for a semi-professional team that included his father and several uncles.

Facing economic hardship in Bonham the Morgan family including aunts and uncles moved to Oakland California There Joe s father and uncles found employment with the Pacific Tire and Rubber Company and just as in Bonham the family attended school church ...

Article

Gerard Sloan

basketball player, was born in Norwalk, Connecticut. Although Murphy was undersized by his sport's standards at five feet nine inches, his basketball career at Norwalk High School was legendary. He was named to the all-state team three times and was named a high school All-American twice. After receiving hundreds of scholarship offers, he eventually settled on Niagara University, where in addition to basketball duties he would perform as a baton twirler during halftime of the nearby Buffalo Bills football games.

In 1966 as Murphy entered college the National Collegiate Athletic Association NCAA had a rule in place barring freshmen from playing varsity basketball While playing for the freshman team he averaged forty nine points and nine rebounds a game attracting nationwide attention There was some speculation that he might transfer after he voiced concern over being one of the few blacks and non Catholics at the school but ...

Article

Jacob Andrew Freedman

professional football and baseball player, was born in Fort Myers, Florida, the only child of Buck Sanders and Connie Knight. Until Sanders was six, he lived with his mother and father, who were not married. His father moved less then a year later because of a drug problem. His mother worked long hours as a janitor at both the hospital and the local school to make sure she could afford luxuries for her son, such as sports equipment. Sanders excelled in all of his athletic undertakings.

At the age of eight he was exposed to organized football through a Pop Warner program Over three years the only game his team lost was the one he missed Sanders was virtually unstoppable due to his incredible speed While the genes for speed may have come from his father whose fleet feet were legendary Sanders attributed his speed to a fear ...

Article

Kevin Grace

boxing trainer, manager, and sports commentator, was born in Bottom Creek, West Virginia, the first child of Catherine Steward and Manuel Steward a coal miner His early childhood in rural Appalachia was characterized by typical boyhood pursuits of swimming and playing ball with his friends and exploring the hollows and hills around his home He received his first pair of boxing gloves when he was seven years old He took to boxing immediately constructing his own punching bags which he hung from a tree in his yard he engaged in matches with any friends he could convince to fight him At the age of eight he was put into the ring in clandestine bouts against children from neighboring towns In his first match against a well known tough kid he won a quick victory which led to several other fights over the next three years These ...

Article

Michael C. Miller

football player, was born Paul Dryden Warfield in Warren, Ohio, son of Amelia Bell Fort and L. Dryden Warfield, who worked for Republic Steel. A gifted athlete, Paul grew up playing many sports, except football. His mother would not allow him to play football because he was so small (he did not reach 100 pounds until high school). When he was a freshman at Warren Harding High School, his mother finally relented, and Paul became the starting running back on Harding's team. He also lettered in baseball, basketball, and track, setting Ohio state records for the 100-yard and 180-yard hurdles and the long jump.

From more than seventy scholarship offers, Warfield chose to attend Ohio State University (OSU), where he played running back and defensive back on the school's football team. Head Coach Woody Hayes employed a power running offense and though Warfield s size and speed ...

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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 ...