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Gregory Travis Bond

football player and doctor, was born in Point Isabelle, Ohio, to Charles Flippin, a doctor and a former slave, and Mary Bell Flippin, a white medical worker. The family moved to Kansas briefly before settling in York County, Nebraska, where Flippin received his first education in the area's public schools. By 1891 he had moved to Lincoln and enrolled in the University of Nebraska.

Flippin was an active and popular member of the campus community He won a university wide speaking contest and was a member and eventually president of the Palladian Literary Society the first such organization on campus He made his biggest mark though in athletics He played four years of football for Nebraska and also competed in track and field contests Standing at six feet two inches and two hundred pounds Flippin was a natural at football and he quickly established himself as the best ...

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Gregory Travis Bond

football and baseball player, was born in Botentourt County, Virginia, to James Follis, a laborer and farmer, and Catharine Follis, a laundress. By 1888 the family had moved to Wooster, Ohio, and Follis entered that city's integrated public schools. As a junior at Wooster High School in 1899, he helped organize the school's first varsity football team, and his teammates elected him captain. Follis was the squad's best player and led the team to an undefeated season. During the summer he played catcher for the Wooster Athletic Association (WAA) baseball team, and in 1900 he helped the WAA capture the championship of the semipro Ohio Trolley League.

After graduating from high school, Follis entered the college preparatory department of the nearby University of Wooster (later College of Wooster) in the spring of 1901 He immediately joined the university s varsity baseball team as the starting catcher ...

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Lloyd J. Graybar

football player, was born Leonard Guy Ford Jr. in Washington, D.C., the son of Leonard Guy Ford, a federal government employee. His mother's name is not known. Ford attended public schools in Washington and graduated from Armstrong High School, where as a senior he captained the football, baseball, and basketball teams and earned All-City honors in football in both 1942 and 1943. Ford recalled that his ambition was to play major league baseball, but since segregation prevented him from doing so he instead enrolled at Morgan State University, an all-black school in Baltimore, Maryland. There he played basketball and football, winning all-conference honors as a tackle his one year at Morgan. In 1944 Ford entered the U.S. Navy, where he met people who told him that at 6'5'' and over 220 pounds he should play at a higher competitive level.

As he neared his discharge in 1945 ...

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Michael C. Miller

football player and Olympic sprinter, was born Robert Lee Hayes in Jacksonville, Florida, the son of George Sanders, who operated a shoeshine parlor, and Mary Hayes, a domestic. When he was growing up Bob resented having to work for his father, particularly after starting high school, because his father would not allow him to participate in sports. Coaches at his son's high school convinced George Sanders to let Bob compete, and he joined the football team in May 1958. A gifted athlete, Bob was on the field for every play, playing both offense and defense, returning kicks, and serving as kicker and punter. He also played basketball and baseball and ran track, and by his senior year he was offered numerous scholarships and a professional baseball contract. Like many black athletes in Florida, he longed to play for legendary coach Jack Gaither at Florida A&M.

Hayes ...

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Laura M. Calkins

football player, was born in Mansfield, Louisiana, to Paul C. and Mary Howell. Little is known of their early lives, but in the late 1880s Howell's parents decided to leave Louisiana, seeking a new life in the American West. In 1888 the Howell family and their six children (Abner was the only boy) reached Dodge City, Kansas, and then traveled together to Trinidad, Colorado. Under unknown circumstances, the family split up; Paul Howell went ahead by train, reaching Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1888. Mary and the children remained in Colorado until 1890 when they were able to join Paul in Salt Lake City where he had been hired as the city s first black policeman Although Paul and Mary Howell did not join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints LDS which was based in Salt Lake City and commonly known as the ...

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Gregory Travis Bond

athlete and educator, was born in Glencairn, Virginia, to Lindsay Jackson, a plumber, and Mary Jane (Smith) Jackson, a domestic worker. The family moved to nearby Alexandria, and while in high school Jackson worked as a barber's apprentice. In 1883 he entered the Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute (now Virginia State University) in Petersburg, a segregated public college. While at school he became good friends with fellow Virginian William Henry Lewis. Jackson and Lewis were heavily involved in campus politics, and both left the school in 1887 after Democratic state legislators forced the school's president, the civil rights activist John Mercer Langston, to resign.

The following year, probably with Langston's help, Lewis and Jackson, who was known to his contemporaries simply as “Sherman Jackson,” entered Amherst College in central Massachusetts. George Washington Forbes another African American entered Amherst that year and the ...

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Michael C. Miller

Hall of Fame football player, was born in Austin, Texas, to Johnnie Mae King, a prostitute, and her pimp, known only as “Texas Slim.” King abandoned her baby in a garbage dumpster when he was three months old, and Ella Lane, a widow, discovered and adopted him, naming him Richard. He attended Anderson High School, playing football and basketball and running track. Anderson won the state title in 1944 in the Prairie View Interscholastic League, a league for black high schools in Texas.

After high school, Lane moved to Scottsbluff, Nebraska, to live with his birth mother, who had straightened out her life. Though the town was predominantly white, Lane remembered it as open and friendly to him. In 1947 he signed a professional baseball contract with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Baseball League and was assigned to their farm team the Omaha Knights ...

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Ramona Hoage Edelin

professor, coach, and civic leader, was born in Chester, South Carolina, the eldest of sixteen children of William Charles and Susie (Jackson) Lewis. Only five of the children lived past early childhood. Lewis's father was born on 11 March 1854, the son of an enslaved woman. He was permitted to obtain an education by learning with the white children of the household and, later, by attending public school. He later taught school in Chester County, South Carolina. He and Susie, always a homemaker, raised their surviving children in a two-story house and farm on York Road in Chester.

William Charles Lewis II attended the Brainard Academy in Chester, a private school of the Presbyterian Church. He graduated with a three-year trade certificate in harness making from Virginia's Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute (later Hampton University) and in 1907 was a football player and coach ...

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Gregory Travis Bond

athlete and civil servant, was born Robert Wells Marshall in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of Richard Marshall, a railroad porter and laborer, and Symanthia Gillepsie Marshall. The family soon moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Marshall first rose to prominence as an athlete at Minneapolis Central High School (MCHS), where he participated in football, baseball, ice hockey, and track. In 1900 Marshall led the Central High football team to a 0–0 tie against the University of Minnesota varsity, which would go on to capture the Western Conference (later the Big Ten) championship. MCHS completed its 1900 schedule undefeated, and claimed the mythic title of “High School Champions of the West.”

Marshall graduated from Central in 1901 and after working for a year to help support his family he enrolled at the University of Minnesota Although most professional sports had been effectively segregated by the twentieth century Minnesota ...

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Paul Stillwell

naval officer, was born in Tobacco Port, Tennessee, the son of Charles, a tobacco farmer, and Carrie Martin; he had two sisters and one brother. For the first few years of his life, Martin lived on a farm in Tennessee, near the Cumberland River. When Martin was about five or six years old, his father died. Because she was unable to keep up the farm, his mother moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where she became a seamstress. Graham Martin, by then seven or eight, went with his mother, while his siblings remained in Tennessee. He attended segregated public schools and had to deal with the Jim Crow practices of his new home city. For instance, blacks had to sit in the balconies of movie theaters, and the sports teams on which Martin played were not allowed to compete against teams from local all-white schools.

As he recalled in ...

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John M. Carroll

football player, was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The names of his parents are unknown, and little is known about his early life except that he was brought to the United States when he was five years old after his natural parents agreed to his adoption by an American coconut and banana importer from Canandaigua, New York. “He was my father's boss,” McDonald later explained, “and he just took a liking to me. My natural parents realized it was a great opportunity for me to go to America. I didn't see my mother again for over fifty-five years.”

McDonald was raised in Canandaigua and attended Canandaigua Academy. After the family moved to Rochester, New York, McDonald became the first African American graduate of East High School, where he was a standout player in both baseball and football. In 1911 McDonald began playing professional football for the Oxford New York ...

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Pamela S. Rivers

professional football player, was born Marion Motley in Leesburg, Georgia, to Shakeful and Blanche (Jones) Motley whose occupations are unknown. In 1924 Motley's family moved to Canton, Ohio, where his father worked as a foundry molder. Little else is known about Marion's background or life until he gained notice as a football player at Canton McKinley High School.

Motley was a standout, a three-sport star whose size advantage and dominance as a fullback helped usher in a new era of football. In 1937 he scored over sixty points only to best himself the following year with 113 points, which was unprecedented for a high school player. He earned All-Ohio honors and ranked eighth in all time McKinley rushers. Years later, in 1968, he would be enshrined into the school's Hall of Fame.

After graduating from high school in 1939 Marion went to South Carolina State and was ...

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Michael Adams

professional football player, was born Fletcher Joseph Perry in Stephens, Arkansas, the son of Fletcher Perry and Laura Wheeler Perry, whose occupations are unknown. Perry grew up in Los Angeles, graduating in 1944 from Jordan High School, where he starred in football, baseball, basketball, and track and field. He was a star running back during 1944–1945 at Compton Junior College, scoring twenty-two touchdowns in his first season.

After college Perry joined the U.S. Navy and played for the Alameda Naval Air Station football team in 1947. The San Francisco 49ers tackle John Woudenberg saw Perry play and told 49ers owner Anthony J. Morabito and coach Lawrence T. “Buck” Shaw about the six-foot, two-hundred-pound running back. Perry reportedly turned down offers from fourteen colleges to sign a contract with the 49ers.

The 49ers began playing in 1946 during the initial season of the All America Football Conference ...

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John M. Carroll

football player and coach, was born Frederick Douglass Pollard in Chicago, Illinois, the son of John William Pollard, a barber, and Catherine Amanda Hughes, a seamstress. Pollard grew up in the all-white Rogers Park section of Chicago, where his family was grudgingly accepted. He was nicknamed Fritz by the neighborhood's many German-speaking residents.

Following the example set by his father, who had gained a boxing reputation in the Union army, and by his older brothers and sisters, who were superb high school athletes, Pollard became a standout athlete in football, baseball, and track. During his senior year at Lane Technical High School (1911–1912) he was named to all-Cook County teams in track and football. Despite his small stature (5' 8”, 150 pounds), he used his speed and agility to score touchdowns, establishing himself as one of the Chicago area's best high school football players.

After ...

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Fritz G. Polite

college football coach, was born Edward Gay Robinson in Jackson, Louisiana, the son of Frank Robinson, then a sharecropper, and Lydia Stewart, a domestic worker. His parents separated when he was six years old, and he lived in a two-room house with his grandparents. Both parents and grandparents were hard-working, industrious people and strict disciplinarians. Looking to break the cycle of sharecropping, Frank Robinson moved in 1925 to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to work for Standard Oil and later separated from Lydia Stewart and married Ann Floyd, a schoolteacher. Young Eddie marveled at the respect and special status that Floyd enjoyed in the community, reflecting the high esteem that African Americans conferred on education and teachers.While Robinson was attending Scott Street Elementary School in Baton Rouge one of his teachers invited football players dressed in full uniform to class for a project Robinson was quite taken ...

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Jason Philip Miller

athlete, was born Wilmeth Webb in Washington, DC, the son of Elias, a pharmacist, and Pauline Miner. In 1925 Elias died of stroke, and Pauline subsequently remarried. Her new husband was Samuel Sidat-Singh, a medical doctor of West Indian descent. He adopted Wilmeth and moved the family to Harlem, New York, where Wilmeth was raised and attended school. Even as a young man, Wilmeth showed great promise as an athlete. By the time he was attending high school at New York's DeWitt Clinton, he was a basketball star. In 1934 he led his team to a New York Public High School Athletic League championship. He was offered a basketball scholarship to Syracuse University, to which he matriculated in 1935. He was also recruited by the school's football coach, and soon he was playing on the gridiron as well as the hardwood.

College sports at the ...

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James I. Deutsch

film actor and athlete, was born Woodrow Wilson Woolwine Strode in Los Angeles, the son of Baylous Strode, a brick mason whose mother was a Blackfoot Indian, and Rosa Norris Strode, whose ancestors included Cherokees. Because of his imposing size—6 feet 4 inches and 215 pounds at his peak—and his physical strength and coordination, Strode first achieved renown as an athlete. At Thomas Jefferson High School in Los Angeles, he earned honors in both football and track and field (shot put, high jump, high and low hurdles), which resulted in an athletic scholarship to the University of California at Los Angeles. However Strode's scholastic credentials were insufficient, so he first had to prove himself academically. Over the next two years he took special classes, while also training for the Decathlon event at the 1936 Olympic Games though he was not selected for the team He finally ...

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John M. Carroll

football player and coach, was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, the son of Elzie Tunnell and Catherine Adams. Raised by his mother, a housekeeper, he was a star athlete in basketball and football at Radnor (Pennsylvania) High School. Upon graduating from high school in 1942, he attended the University of Toledo. In 1943 Tunnell played on the Toledo basketball team that advanced to the finals of the National Invitation Tournament in New York City before losing to St. John's University. During his single varsity football season at Toledo, Tunnell suffered a broken neck. After a period of recovery he joined the U.S. Coast Guard in 1944. In 1946 following his release from the service he enrolled at the University of Iowa Playing in both offensive and defensive backfields Tunnell had a successful season with the Hawkeyes but was forced to sit out his senior year ...

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Joy Gleason Carew

Wilberforce graduate, All-American football player, animal husbandry specialist, and African American expatriate in the USSR, was born in Roanoke, Virginia. His parents' names are unknown, although one source noted that his father was a pastor. Tynes's family history was a mix of African American and Native American. One source cites his Native American heritage as Seneca, and another suggests he was a Dakota. Whatever his Native American heritage, as a man of African ancestry, Tynes was no less hampered by Jim Crow restrictions. He nonetheless earned a degree in Agricultural Education at Wilberforce in 1929 and had achieved some notoriety for his prowess on the football field. Under the name “Whirlwind” Tynes, he was also listed on the Pittsburgh Courier All American football team in that same year Despite these achievements he was unable to find work in his chosen field and in the early 1930s ...

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Steven P. Gietschier

football player, was born Kenneth Stanley Washington in Los Angeles, California, the son of Edgar Washington, an actor; his mother's name is unknown. He played football at Los Angeles Lincoln High School and was considered by some the best high school football player ever to play in Southern California. In one game against Garfield High School, he made headlines for throwing a sixty-yard touchdown pass.

Washington attended the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), intending to play football and baseball. He played baseball in the spring of 1937, hitting .454, and made the varsity football team in the fall of his sophomore year. The Bruins, coached by William H. Spaulding compiled a lackluster 2 6 1 record but Washington a tailback in UCLA s single wing offense emerged from the season as the first great African American athlete on the West Coast In the second ...