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Steven B. Jacobson and William A. Jacobson

sprinter, was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, the eldest of five children of Samuel Ashford, a non-commissioned U.S. Air Force officer, and Vietta Ashford, a homemaker. Because of her father's service assignments, the family lived a nomadic lifestyle before settling in Roseville, California, where Ashford was the only girl on Roseville High's boys track team. She earned her spot by beating the school's fastest boys. Ashford's precocious world-class speed was obvious by her senior year, when she recorded times of 11.5 and 24.2 seconds, respectively, in the 100 and 200 meter dashes.

Ashford entered UCLA in September 1975 with an athletic scholarship. She soon qualified for the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada, and there, at nineteen, she qualified for the finals and was the top U.S. finisher in the 100 meters, finishing fifth in 11.24 seconds. Ashford was a collegiate all-American in 1977 and 1978 She ...

Article

Adam R. Hornbuckle

was born Jane Kimberly Batten, in McRae, Georgia, the daughter of Ella Jean Batten. In 1976 her family moved to Rochester, New York, where she participated in basketball, track and field, and volleyball at the city’s East High School. Principally a long and triple jumper on the track and field team, Batten also competed in the 400-meter hurdles, posting times of 61.1 seconds in 1986 and 60.94 seconds in 1987. She graduated East High in 1987, ranked third in the nation in the triple jump.

Recruited by several colleges to compete in the triple jump, Batten selected Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee. For the Seminoles, she competed in the 100, 200, and 400 meters; 100- and 400-meter hurdles; long jump and triple jump; and the 4 × 100- and 4 × 400-meter relays. Indoors in 1988 Batten finished thirteenth in the triple jump at the National ...

Article

Adam R. Hornbuckle

was born in East Orange, New Jersey, the eldest of the two children of Jetta Clark and Dr. Joe Louis Clark. The Clarks lived in Newark, a short distance from her birthplace, until moving to South Orange after the 1967 riots. Her father, who served as the principal of Eastside High School, in Paterson, New Jersey, gained national attention for enforcing discipline and improving academic achievement at Eastside, one of the state’s toughest inner-city schools, and became the subject of the 1989 film Lean on Me, in which the award-winning actor Morgan Freeman portrayed him.

Clark performed with the Alvin Ailey Junior Dance Company until the age of fourteen, when she began to participate in track, concentrating on the half-mile (880 yards), the distance at which her father excelled at William Patterson University (then known as the Paterson State Teachers College) in Wayne, New Jersey. Interviewed for the Best ...

Article

Jason Philip Miller

professional golfer, was born in Owens, South Carolina, but her family relocated to Washington, D.C., and would remain there for the rest of her life. Little information about her early years or upbringing is available. As an adult, she managed the school cafeteria at Dunbar High School. She married Eugene Funches, an elevator operator at the National Geographic Society, and avid amateur golfer. It was from him that she learned the game.

At the time no white golf clubs or courses would admit African Americans, so blacks created their own competitive golf leagues and opened their own courses. Sometime in the early 1940s, Funches joined one of these, the Wake Robin Golf Club in Washington. Wake Robin had been founded not long before, in 1936 by thirteen women whose husbands were members of DC s Royal Golf Club The Royal Golf Club was only open to African American men ...

Article

Martha Ackmann

baseball player, was born Mamie Belton in Ridgeway, South Carolina, the daughter of Della Belton, a hospital dietician, and Gentry Harrison, a construction worker about whom little else is known. Mamie spent her early years in Ridgeway, where she attended Thorntree School, a two-room schoolhouse. Part of a large family that included twelve half brothers and half sisters, Mamie lived with her maternal grandmother, Cendonia Belton, while her mother worked in Washington, D.C. Mamie's uncle, Leo “Bones” Belton, was so close to her in age that she regarded him more as a brother than as an uncle. Belton introduced her to baseball. Along with other children in the area, “Bones” and Mamie played baseball on a makeshift diamond, with a lid from a bucket of King Cane sugar serving as home plate and baseballs made of rocks wrapped in tape.

After her grandmother s death ...

Article

Ariel Bookman

Kenyan pioneer, horse trainer, aviator, and memoirist, was born on 26 October 1902 in Ashwell, Leicestershire, England, to Charles Clutterbuck, a former army officer, and Clara, née Alexander. Her parents, attracted by the intensive British government effort to promote white settlement in Kenya (then British East Africa), moved there with Beryl and her older brother Richard in 1904. Beryl’s early life was thus shaped by the unique opportunities open to a white child in a frontier colony: she spoke Swahili nearly as early as she did English; learned hunting, games, and mythology from her father’s Nandi tenants; and grew to recognize herself as part of Africa. As she phrased it in her 1942 memoir West with the Night with characteristic, figurative simplicity, “My feet were on the earth of Africa” (134).

Her mother soon returned with Richard to England where she remarried According to one of Markham s biographers ...

Article

Adam R. Hornbuckle

was born Jearl Miles in Gainesville, Florida, the daughter of Aaron Davis Clark and Eartha Miles Hutchinson. She began running track in ninth grade at F. W. Buchholz High School in Gainesville because her older sister, Sylvia, ran track and she “wanted to be like big sister” (The New York Times). Miles specialized in the 100 and 200 meters and the long jump but took up the 400 meters as a senior in 1984 because she wanted to win a trophy awarded to the best performer the 100, 200, 400, and the long jump at the Bob Hayes Relays in Jacksonville, Florida. Despite winning the long jump and the 400, she did not claim the trophy for best performer, but demonstrated her potential as a long sprinter, winning the 400 at the Florida State High Championships.

After graduating high school in 1984 Miles entered Alabama Agricultural and ...

Article

Leroy Nesbitt and Desmond Wolfe

Lucy Diggs Slowe was born in Berryville, Virginia, a farming community in Clark County. Following the premature deaths of her parents, Henry Slowe and Fannie Potter, the owners of the only hotel in Berryville, young Lucy joined the home of Martha Slowe Price, her paternal aunt in Lexington, Virginia. A few years later she and the Price family moved to Baltimore, Maryland, to improve their economic and educational opportunities. Looking back on her childhood, Lucy noted that her aunt had very pronounced ideas on dignity, morality, and religion, which she did not fail to impress upon Lucy and her cousin.

Always an excellent student, Lucy was salutatorian of her 1904 class at Baltimore Colored High School and the first female graduate of her high school to receive a college scholarship to Howard University At Howard University she was active in numerous literary social musical and athletic ...

Article

Jane Brodsky Fitzpatrick

professional basketball player and Olympic gold medalist, was born in Brownfield, Texas, the daughter of Louise Swoopes. The only girl of four children, Sheryl never knew her father, who left when she was a baby. Swoopes became interested in basketball when she was young and played with her brothers and other neighborhood boys, developing an aggressive and physical style. By age seven she played with the Little Dribblers, a youth basketball league. After three years the team made the finals but lost the tournament in Beaumont. Swoopes's long legs earned her the nickname “Legs” at Brownfield High School, where she also ran track and set the school record for the long jump. In 1988, her junior year, the Brownfield High School team won its first state basketball championship. As a senior she won the Texas Player of the Year Award.Following her graduation from high school in ...