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Hasaan A. Kirkland

football player and painter, was born Ernest Eugene Barnes Jr. in Durham, North Carolina, the son of Ernest Barnes Sr., a tobacco worker, and Fannie Mae Geer, who worked for a local legal official. On occasion Barnes talked with Mr. Fuller, his mother's employer, and from him learned about culture, art, and classical music.

Before the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 it was uncommon for African Americans in North Carolina to have access to museums or other sources of information about ancient or world cultures Segregation and racial inequalities in schools and other public institutions deprived most back children of avenues for artistic pursuits Despite such constraints Barnes s mother exposed her son to as much culture and art as she could he studied dance and horn and percussion instruments as well as the visual arts By the time ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Adam R. Hornbuckle

was born Henry William Carr in Montgomery, Alabama, the ninth of twelve children. The names of his parents are not recorded, but at some point in Carr’s early life the family moved to Detroit, Michigan, which many sources give as his place of birth. As a student at Detroit’s Northwestern High School, he participated in basketball, football, and track and field. Undefeated in track and field, Carr specialized in the 220-yard dash, which then was contested on a straight track. Although his best legal time for the distance was 20.6 seconds, he recorded a wind-aided time of 20.0 seconds on 8 May 1961. Carr graduated from high school in 1961 with personal best times of 9.4 seconds in the 100-yard dash and 47.8 in the 440-yard dash. His best performance in the long jump measured 23 feet, 4½ inches.

After graduating high school Carr accepted an athletic scholarship to ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Adam R. Hornbuckle

was born James Ray Hines in Dumas, Arkansas, the ninth of twelve children of Charlie Hines and Minnie West Hines. In 1952 the Hines family moved to Oakland, California, where his father worked in construction and his mother in a cannery. At Oakland’s Lowell Junior High School, Hines played center field on the baseball team; his speed at that position impressed Jim Coleman, the McClymonds High School track and field coach, who asked him to join the track team. Once at McClymonds, Hines began specializing in the 100- and 220-yard dashes. Undefeated throughout his high school career at both distances, he clocked 9.7 seconds in the 100 yards as a sophomore, and improved to 9.4 as a senior, to earn a share of the national high school record. Graduating high school in 1964, Hines ranked as the nation’s top high school sprinter.

Hines earned an athletic scholarship to run ...

Article

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 ...

Article

David Lucander

football player, was born James David Lofton in Fort Ord, California, the son of Michael Lofton and his wife, whose name is unknown. Indeed very little is known about his parents or his early life. James was an all-city quarterback at George Washington High School in Los Angeles before blossoming into an academic All-American at Stanford University, where in 1978 he earned a bachelor's degree in Engineering. Prior to establishing himself as a premier wide receiver under the tutelage of Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh during his senior year, Lofton was also a top-notch track-and-field athlete. He won the long jump with a record-setting twenty-seven-foot leap as a senior at the 1978 NCAA Track-and-Field Championships. He had previously won the long jump at the 1974 California State Track and Field Championships Although Lofton s outstanding leaping ability helped him become one of the NFL s top wide ...

Article

Chris Elzey

track athlete, was born Vincent Edward Matthews in Queens Village, New York. His parents' names are not known, but his father was a fabric cutter in the clothing trade. Matthews spent much of his early childhood in some of New York's rougher neighborhoods. In 1949 his family moved from a cramped flat in Brooklyn to the Marcy Housing Projects, a collection of ramshackle apartment blocks near the Bedford-Stuyvesant section. After Matthews's mother had the astounding luck of winning a substantial sum of money playing the Irish Sweepstakes, his parents purchased a house in the more stable neighborhood of South Ozone Park, Queens. Matthews attended Andrew Jackson High School in a nearby neighborhood of Queens.

A bright inquisitive youngster Matthews began running competitive track at Andrew Jackson But he devoted so much time to the sport that his schoolwork suffered and he was dismissed twice from Jackson s track team ...

Article

Elizabeth A. McAllister

track-and-field athlete, professional football player, and sports agent, was born in Newark, New Jersey, the eldest of three children of Harriet and Earl Nehemiah, the latter a bookbinder (his mother's occupation is not known). A wide receiver on his high school football team, Earl Nehemiah instilled in his sons an interest in athletics. At a young age, Renaldo “Skeets” Nehemiah and his younger brother Dion participated in wrestling, boxing, basketball, and karate. Nehemiah's nickname of “Skeets,” a family reference to his scampering around the house as a child, would accompany him throughout his life. In 1973 his mother died of cancer; as the eldest child, he assisted his father in taking care of the house and his two siblings. He ran hurdles in junior high school and later at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School from 1973 to 1977. His track coach, Jean Poquette assisted Nehemiah ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

track and field athlete and American football player, was born 16 August 1961 in Enugu, Nigeria, the fifth of seven children of his mother, Cecilia, and his father, Benedict Ike, who served in the military. Cecilia died of a stroke two years before her son Christian moved to the United States. His family belonged to the Igbo ethnic community, and four of his uncles fought in the failed Biafran secession from 1967 to 1970. Okoye recalled trying to hide himself in his grandfather's basement. By the time he left secondary school in 1979 Okoye s potent combination of size strength and speed made him stand out in several sports He played table tennis soccer discus handball volleyball and ran hurdles State track coach Patrick Anukwa noticed Okoye and pushed him to train harder and to increase his strength One of his fellow sprinters Innocent Egbunike received a ...

Article

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 ...