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Paul Stillwell

pioneer black naval officer, was born in Oberlin, Ohio, one of five children (two boys and three girls) of James and Margaret Barnes. James, from North Carolina, was a chef at Oberlin College, and Margaret, from Kentucky, ran a family laundry. Soon after they married, Barnes's parents settled in Oberlin to raise their family because of the community's liberal atmosphere. They were aware of the role the town had played as a way station on the Underground Railroad for fugitive slaves in the nineteenth century. Barnes received the bulk of his education in Oberlin. He graduated from high school there in 1932 and was elected to the National Honor Society. In 1936 he graduated from Oberlin College with a bachelor s degree in Physical Education He was an outstanding athlete who played end on the college s football team and starred on the track team He established a ...

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Alwyn Barr

entrepreneur and political organizer, was born to Louisa and Theodore Bellinger, a blacksmith in Lockhart, a small town in Caldwell County in south central Texas. As a teenager he began to work in Lockhart, Texas, for Jeff Howard, who owned a saloon. There he became a dealer for card games that involved betting.

Using his own savings along with loans he acquired from Howard and the Pearl Brewery, Bellinger moved to San Antonio, where by 1906 he had opened his own saloon His success as a gambler grew into a regional and national reputation with trips to Chicago and New York to gamble As an entrepreneur he diversified his investments by adding a real estate office a construction company a café a pool room a barbershop a theater a baseball team a lottery and a taxi service When Prohibition came in the 1920s rumors suggested he ...

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Kimberly L. Malinowski

landscape painter, was born in Indiana but was raised by his grandparents in Parkersburg, West Virginia. His parents and grandparents sent him to Charlestown Institute where he was trained in house painting. In 1904 he began studying art at West Virginia Colored Institute in Institute, West Virginia. He graduated in 1910 from the academic department, where he was trained in watercolor and where he took painting as an industrial course.

Brown then moved to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania where he studied pictures to compare various styles of landscape paintings after which the Charlestown Institute invited him to teach house painting as a vocational art Instead Brown traveled to New York where he lived on two dollars a week without lodging Brown could not afford to both sleep at a hotel and eat He decided that he should eat and chose to sleep on the railway cars for brief snatches of time During ...

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Pellom McDaniels

football player and businessman, was born in Gainesville, Alabama, one of four children of Wallace Buchanan, a steelworker, and Fannie Mae Buchanan, a bank employee.

At Birmingham's prestigious Arthur Harold (A. H.) Parker Industrial High School, known as the “largest Negro school in the world,” (Carolyn McKinstry interview). Buchanan worked diligently to master his growing physical stature and athletic ability. Reaching six feet five inches in his senior year, Buchanan became a star athlete and was voted captain of both basketball and football teams. For Buchanan, as well as others who attended A. H. Parker from the late 1940s to the mid-1960s, the instructors were responsible for providing the students with a sense of race pride and inspired them to achieve beyond the expectations of the outside world.

In addition to the teachers at A H Parker High School Buchanan had several coaches and mentors who influenced ...

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Adam R. Hornbuckle

track and field athlete and professional football and baseball player was born Edward Solomon Butler on 3 March 1895, in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. Sol Butler was the youngest of three known children of Ben and Mary Butler. His father, born a slave in Georgia in 1842, took the last name of Butler after a Union officer with whom he served in the Civil War. His mother, originally from Georgia, was born a freewoman in 1867. The Butlers, as did many African Americans in the late nineteenth century, moved to the nation's Midwest to escape the rise of racial discrimination and violence in the South following the end of Reconstruction in 1877. After a brief period in the Oklahoma territory, the Butlers moved to Wichita, Kansas in 1904, before finally settling in Hutchinson, Kansas in 1909.

In Hutchinson Butler began to participate in football and track ...

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David Borsvold

NFL football player and entrepreneur, was born William Delford Davis in rural Lisbon, Louisiana, to David Davis, a laborer, and Nodie Bell Davis. The family struggled in the poverty of the Depression and Davis's parents instilled in him a strong work ethic. He attended Booker T. Washington High School in Texarkana, Texas, where he played football for coach Nathan Jones. As Davis grew tall and athletic, Jones emphasized that a big, strong man could also be intelligent and could transcend commonly held misconceptions about athletes.

Willie was the first member of his family to go to college, entering Grambling University on a football scholarship and playing for the legendary coach Eddie Robinson Majoring in industrial arts with minors in mathematics and physical education he excelled in both sports and academics serving as team captain and making the dean s list in both his junior and ...

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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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Joseph Wilson David

The game known in the United States as football evolved into its current form from rugby and soccer (“soccer” is still called “football” in most countries outside North America) in the nineteenth century. The Intercollegiate Football Association (IFA) was founded in 1876 to organize this new game. Rules for the precursor to the modern game were developed by the twenty-year-old Walter Camp at Yale University in 1879.

Camp codified innovations begun earlier in the century when William Ebb Ellis playing soccer violated the rule against running with the ball The modern sport of football in the United States is a game that features eleven players on each side of the ball with the team on offense seeking to move the ball ten yards on each play or down which begins with the snap of the ball Failing to gain ten yards in four downs means turning the ball ...

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Alonford James Robinson

American professional football originated in 1869 from a combination of two internationally popular games, rugby and soccer. During the early years of professional football, African Americans were banned from teams in the country's premier league, the National Football League (NFL). Today, African Americans dominate the sport on the playing field, but have yet to be sufficiently represented in the ranks of coaches and managers.

The first known African American to play professional football was running back Charles Follis, who signed with the Shelby Athletic Club of Shelby, Ohio, in 1902. Professional football moved toward full racial integration in intermittent waves. For thirty-one years the playing field was integrated, although in a limited way, with a relatively small number of black players. Then, in 1933, the NFL banned African American athletes entirely. When the NFL was reintegrated in 1946 black players made an immediate impact upon the ...

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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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basketball coach, was born in Paducah, Kentucky, the only child of Lester Gaines, a cook, and Olivia Bolen, a domestic worker. By the time he entered Lincoln High School in rural Paducah, he was already six feet, five inches tall and weighed 265 pounds. He became a powerhouse on the football team and made All-Conference. In 1941 Gaines graduated third in his class of thirty-five.

Education was very important to his parents, so it was understood that he would go to college. While visiting Morgan State College in Baltimore, where he ultimately enrolled in 1941, the business manager, James “Stump” Carter, spotted Gaines walking across campus and exclaimed, “Man! The only thing I've ever seen bigger than you is a house!” (Gaines, 2004). From that day forward Gaines became known as “Big House.”

Gaines excelled in college athletics He made All American for two years and ...

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professional football player, was born in Brackenridge, Pennsylvania, to Pittsburgh steelworkers Otto and Rose Gilchrist. Gilchrist loved sweets as a child, and was thus given the nickname “Cookie.” He attended Har-Brack High School in nearby Natrona Heights, where he was a star player, leading his team to an area championship in 1953. Though in his youth he had visions of becoming a doctor, Gilchrist's increasingly apparent physical gifts steered him toward sports. A gifted athlete, a bruising runner and blocker—“Cookie” was Jim Brown before there was a Jim Brown. With over one hundred college scholarship offers by his junior year, Gilchrist signed a professional contract with owner Paul Brown of the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League NFL Because he was nineteen years old the contract violated NFL rules so Gilchrist left the Browns training camp for Canada where he played in the Ontario Rugby ...

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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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John Hanners

college athlete and professional football player, was born the son of Foster, a Pullman porter, and Ella Johnson in Waterproof, Louisiana. In the early 1930s the Johnson family moved to Pittsburg, California, near Oakland, where John Henry emerged as an exceptional athlete at Pittsburg High School. He earned varsity letters in baseball, football, basketball, wrestling, and track. In 1949 he set a California schoolboy discus throwing record. Three years running he was an All-Contra Costa County Athletic League all-star in football, basketball, and track. His legendary athletic performances resulted in numerous awards. Johnson married Barbara Flood in 1950, and they had five children together before their divorce. He later married Leona Johnson.

Johnson enrolled at California's St. Mary's College in 1950 where he developed the football playing style that would mark the rest of this athletic career At 6 2 and 225 pounds Johnson helped ...

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Wayne L. Wilson

football player, was born David Jones in Eatonville, Florida, five miles from Orlando. David's parents, Mattie and Ishmeal, who worked a variety of jobs including farm workers, had eight children, three boys and five girls. He was the seventh. The poverty-stricken family lived in an old, wooden house with no indoor plumbing until David attended high school. He was a three-sport star (baseball, basketball, and football) at all-black Hungerford High School.

However, all David dreamed about as a child was becoming a star professional football player. His father demanded that all three boys play the sport. But he noticed that David had the greatest potential for success in the pros. Jones said of his father in Pro Football Weekly, “He used to watch me practice at 5:00 in the morning doing my running when nobody else did. He supported the hell out of me” (Arkush, 27 Jan ...

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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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football player, was born in Detroit, Michigan. The names of his parents are unknown. He never knew his father, who reportedly died in a Civilian Conservation Corps camp when Gene was very young; his mother was stabbed to death by a male acquaintance while she waited for a bus in Detroit in 1942 Raised by his maternal grandfather Lipscomb recalled that his grandfather did the best he knew how But for some reason it was always hard for us to talk together Instead of telling me what I was doing wrong and how to correct it my grandfather would holler and whip me As a youth Gene held a variety of odd jobs to support himself including a midnight to eight shift at a steel mill in Detroit which he worked before attending classes at Miller High School He quit school at age sixteen and joined the U ...