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Kimberly Cheek

track-and-field athlete, was born John Wesley Carlos in Harlem, New York, the youngest of five children of Earl Vanderbilt Carlos, a cobbler, and Vioris Carlos, a nurse's aide. Initially Carlos desired to become an Olympic swimmer, but few African Americans had access to suitable training facilities for those events. He was encouraged by local police officers to become involved in track and field and trained at the New York Pioneer Club. He competed for the first time when he represented the Machine Trade and Metal High School at the Penn Relays. During his senior year Carlos married Karen Benjamin Groce on 29 February 1965 and with her had two children. Following high school he was awarded a full track-and-field scholarship to East Texas State University at Commerce.

In 1967 during his first year at East Texas State Carlos won the university s first Lone Star Conference title and ...

Article

Antje Daub

athlete, scholar, soldier, and judge, was born in Jacksonville, Florida, one of nine children of Walter Holmes Gourdin, a meat cutter and part Seminole Indian, and Felicia Nee, an African American woman who was a housekeeper. Little is known about his early school career, other than that he was valedictorian of his high school class in 1916. Although poor, Gourdin's parents recognized their son's talents and educational potential and, following his high school graduation, moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to further his career. There, Gourdin attended Cambridge High and Latin, which helped prepare him for the high academic demands of an Ivy League education.

By the time he enrolled in his freshman year at Harvard in 1917 Gourdin appears to have been a conscientious and responsible student To pay tuition he supported himself by working as a postal clerk He also became a ...

Article

Charles Orson Cook

sprinting champion who later served as a U.S. congressman. Although overshadowed by Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympics, the track-and-field star Ralph Harold Metcalfe was America's premier sprinter for several years in the early 1930s. He was born in Atlanta on 30 May 1910, the third son of Clarence and Mamie Holmes Metcalfe, but shortly thereafter the family moved to Chicago, where his father found employment in the city's stockyards and his mother was a dressmaker. Metcalfe was the national interscholastic sprint champion in 1929, and at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he was the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) champion in the 100- and 220-yard dashes for three successive years, from 1932 through 1934.

In the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles he won the silver medal in the 100 meter dash and the bronze in the 200 meters He equaled or broke world ...

Article

David L. Porter

Metcalfe, Ralph Harold (30 May 1910–10 October 1978), track and field athlete and U.S. congressman, was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Clarence Metcalfe, a stockyard worker, and Marie Attaway, a seamstress. He moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1917, grew up in a slum area on the South Side, and attended Tilden Technical High School. Metcalfe won the 1929 interscholastic track-and-field sprint championship and, as a member of the Chase Athletic Club, captured the 1930 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) junior 100-yard title in 9.7 seconds.

A 5′ 11″, 180-pound speedster, Metcalfe attended Marquette University, breezing through the 1932 track-and-field season undefeated in both the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes and taking both events at the NCAA and AAU championships. That same year Metcalfe dethroned Eddie Tolan as the dominant American sprinter On 11 June he tied Tolan s world mark in the 100 yard dash and shattered ...

Article

David L. Porter

track-and-field athlete and U.S. congressman, was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Clarence Metcalfe, a stockyard worker, and Marie Attaway, a seamstress. He moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1917, grew up in a slum area on the South Side, and attended Tilden Technical High School. Metcalfe won the 1929 interscholastic track-and-field sprint championship and, as a member of the Chase Athletic Club, captured the 1930 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) junior 100-yard title in 9.7 seconds.

A 5-foot 11-inch, 180-pound speedster, Metcalfe attended Marquette University, breezing through the 1932 track-and-field season undefeated in both the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes and taking both events at the NCAA and AAU championships. That same year Metcalfe dethroned Eddie Tolan as the dominant American sprinter. On 11 June he tied Tolan s world mark in the 100 yard dash and shattered the world record in the 220 yard dash ...

Article

Donald Roe

The first Olympic Games of the modern era were held in Athens, Greece, in 1896. From modest beginnings, the Olympics, which now consist of winter games and summer games held every four years, have become perhaps the greatest spectacle in sports. Pierre de Courbertin (1863–1937), a French aristocrat and the driving force behind reviving the ancient Greek games, was instrumental in creating the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to oversee the Olympics. From their inception, the modern Olympics have been colored by international politics. Nonetheless, the games have survived nationalism, boycotts, athletes’ using performance-enhancing drugs, and terrorism. Along the way, African American athletes have played a significant role in making the Summer Olympics Games an international spectacle.

Few African American athletes participated in the Olympics during the early years of their revival Racism and segregation hampered the creation of programs in track and field and other sports for ...

Article

Maureen M. Smith

Olympic track-and-field gold medalist and world record holder, was born in Clarksville, Texas, to James Richard, a sharecropper, and Dora Smith. Tommie, the seventh of twelve children, grew up on a farm where his family raised hogs and cows and picked cotton. Like many black Texans hoping to escape the misery of the Jim Crow South, the Smiths moved to the San Joaquin Valley of California and settled in Lemoore. There, Smith's athletic track career began in the fourth grade, when he raced the fastest kid at his school, his older sister, Sallie, and won. He struggled academically but nonetheless decided in the sixth grade that he wanted to be a teacher. Recognizing the lack of attention given to his own learning difficulties, he hoped that he might serve students more effectively.Smith grew rapidly as he entered his teenage years and he excelled ...

Article

Adam R. Hornbuckle

was born William Samuel Steele in El Centro, California, the only son of Theodore S. Steele and Laura Tompkins. In 1927 the family moved to San Diego and Steele later attended Herbert Hoover High School. In 1941 he won the long jump in 24 feet ¾ inch at the Southern Section of the California State High School Track and Field Championships and finished second at the State Championships in 23 feet 3½ inches. After graduating from high school that same year, Steele enrolled in San Jose State College and joined the track and field team. Coached by Lloyd “Bud” Winter, he won the long jump at the 1942 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Junior National Track and Field Championships. His jump of 25 feet 7¼ inches ranked as the longest performance in the world that year. In 1942 Steele also recorded a career best in the triple jump of 47 ...

Article

Adam R. Hornbuckle

was born in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, the second youngest of twelve children, some of whom had died in infancy, of Silas Edward Woodruff, a coal miner, and Sarah Henry Woodruff, a laundress. His parents, the children of former Virginia slaves, had migrated to Pennsylvania from Pulaski County, Virginia, where they had married in 1894. Born John Youie Woodruff, he was an avid reader as a child, impressing his second-grade teacher by finishing books several years beyond his reading comprehension level. At the age of sixteen he dropped out of Connellsville High School in the hope of finding work in the factories that had employed many of his white classmates. After being rejected by employers because of his race, Woodruff returned to school and later recalled the experience as the only time discrimination worked in his favor.

During his junior year at Connellsville High School Woodruff played football until his mother ...