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Robert Janis

professional basketball player, was born Nathaniel Archibald in New York City but he was known as Tiny Some say he was nicknamed after his father Big Tiny while others believe that he was given that label because he was small in comparison with the other players on the basketball court He was the oldest of seven children and was raised in the South Bronx s Patterson Housing Projects At age fourteen his father left the family and Archibald effectively became head of the household His mother worked at a neighborhood supermarket called Alexander s to make enough money to care for the family Basketball became Archibald s sanctuary from drugs and violence which were rampant in his neighborhood and among his friends Still it wasn t easy for him to get himself on a team as he was small painfully shy and lacked confidence on the basketball court He ...

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Donald Scott

educator, activist, and baseball pioneer, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, to Sara Isabella Cain, a woman from a prosperous mixed-race family, and William T. Catto, a Presbyterian minister. When Catto was about five years old, his father relocated the family to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after being “called” to the city by the Presbytery and after some time to the ministry of the First African Presbyterian Church, a historic black church formed by the Reverend John Gloucester, a former slave, in 1807.

As a youngster Catto attended a number of Philadelphia-area public schools, including the Vaux Primary School. By 1854, though, he was enrolled in the newly opened Institute for Colored Youth, the forerunner of historically black Cheyney University, just south of Philadelphia.

William Catto and other black ministers convinced the Quaker administration to focus on classical topics including Latin Greek and mathematics and not just ...

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Thomas A. Mogan

basketball coach and educator, was born in Jacksonville, Florida, to Earley Chaney (whose maiden name is not now known) and a father he never knew. The oldest of three children, Chaney grew up in a poor section of Jacksonville called Black Bottom. Chaney's mother was a domestic worker for a white lawyer's family in the Riverside section of the city. Although Chaney never met his biological father, his stepfather, Sylvester Chaney, was a major influence in his life. Chaney's experience of childhood poverty would play a major role in his lifelong commitment to improving the lives of the student-athletes under his charge.

Chaney moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the age of fourteen when his stepfather got a job at the Veteran's Hospital. Chaney emerged as a basketball star at Ben Franklin High School in Philadelphia. Despite being named the MVP of the Philadelphia Public League in 1951 he ...

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Jane Poyner

Boxer and ex‐slave from Tennessee, United States, who made a number of trips to England to fight. Dobbs was born into slavery in Knoxville, Tennessee, and picked cotton until he was 15. A slight man, standing 5 feet 8½ inches and weighing just 9 stone 9 pounds, he trained as a lightweight and welterweight. During his illustrious career he fought over 1,000 matches, not retiring until he was 60. In 1898 he made his first trip to England, where, in an infamous fight with Dick Burge he was offered a bribe by a bookmaker of £100 a huge sum in those days to lose the fight He agreed to the deal and was provided with laxatives before the match but switched with a friend who bore some resemblance to him and who was willing to take the medication Dobbs won the match On the same trip he knocked out ...

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Rita Liberti

basketball player and teacher, was born in Bennett, North Carolina, the eighth of ten children of William Green Glover, a farmer and lumberjack, and Carrie Marsh. As a youngster Ruth acquired and honed her basketball skills, playing with her brothers on a makeshift court in the family's yard. These experiences helped prepare her for the competitive basketball she played in high school and college. Glover graduated from Chatham County High School in Siler City, North Carolina, in 1933 and then earned a BA in Elementary Education from Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1937.

The year Glover entered Chatham County High School a girls basketball team was established providing female students at the all black school the same opportunities their peers already had at the all white Siler City High School Glover eager to test the skills learned playing informally with her brothers signed up immediately ...

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 ...

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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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Alva Moore Stevenson

chemist, Olympic medalist, and university professor, was born to Isabelle Lu Valle and James Arthur Garfield Lu Valle in San Antonio, Texas. His father was a newspaper editor in Washington, D.C., and an itinerant preacher; his mother was a secretary. Lu Valle's parents separated when he was still young, and James moved with his mother and sister to Los Angeles in 1923. His father traveled worldwide after the separation and was in Europe for a time; Lu Valle remained estranged from him. At a young age he became a voracious reader. A chemistry set given him as a child changed his original interest in the sciences from engineering to chemistry.

James was an excellent student at McKinley Junior High School His scholastic record there qualified him to attend the competitive Los Angeles Polytechnic High School where his academic interests in science and math were further cultivated ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Glenn Stout

baseball player, baseball executive, and advocate for alcohol abuse education, was born Donald Newcombe in Madison, New Jersey, one of four sons born to Sadie Sayers and Ronald Newcombe, a chauffeur. When Newcombe was five years old, Ronald Newcombe's employer moved to Union, New Jersey, and the family relocated to Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Newcombe's father introduced him to alcohol at age eight and Newcombe continued to drink into adulthood. As a boy, he played sandlot baseball and occasionally attended professional baseball games in Newark, New Jersey, with his father and brothers, observing the Newark Eagles of the Negro National League and International League Newark Bears, a farm club of the New York Yankees. An older brother briefly managed a semiprofessional baseball team and occasionally allowed his younger brother to practice with the team. Newcombe's older next door neighbor, John Grier took an interest in the young man and ...

Article

Ryan Reid Bowers

educator and U.S. secretary of education, was born Roderick Raynor Paige in Monticello, Mississippi, the son of Raynor C. Paige, a school principal, and Sophia Paige, a librarian. When he graduated from Lawrence County Training High School in Monticello, Mississippi, the surrounding institutions of higher education in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky did not admit black students. Thus Paige chose Mississippi's Jackson State College, the closest historically black college available to him. After receiving his BA in Physical Education from Jackson State in 1951, he enrolled in a physical education master's degree program at Indiana University, Bloomington, eventually earning his degree in 1964.

In July 1956, Paige married Gloria Gene Crawford. They were married for twenty-three years, had one son, and divorced in 1982. After graduating from Indiana in 1969 with a doctorate in Physical Education Paige left Indiana to become an assistant ...

Article

Adam R. Hornbuckle

Audrey Mae Patterson was the only child of Lionel Patterson, a porter and chauffeur, and Josephine Nero Patterson, a cook.

After graduating from Danneel Elementary School, Patterson entered Gilbert Academy, a Methodist-affiliated school in New Orleans devoted to the education of African American children. Participating on the track and field team, she compiled an undefeated record in the 100-, 220-, and 440-yard dashes. In 1944Jesse Owens, who had won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic Games, spoke to the students, encouraging them to pursue their dreams and remain optimistic about the future despite racial injustice. Patterson later said that she believed Owens spoke directly to her, motivating her to compete in the Olympics.

After graduating from Gilbert in 1945 Patterson enrolled at Wiley College in Marshall Texas An historically black college affiliated with the Methodist church and known for high academic standards Wiley had made significant ...

Article

Adam R. Hornbuckle

was born André Lamar Phillips in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The names of his parents are not recorded, but the family moved to San Jose, California when André was young. He grew up in Meadow Fair, a neighborhood in east San Jose and attended Silver Creek High School. As a high school track and field athlete, coached by Stan Dowell, he won the 300-meter low hurdles at the California Interscholastic Federation State Championships in 1977. That year, Phillips graduated high school and entered San Jose City College. In 1978 he claimed the first of two consecutive California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Championship titles in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles and finished second in the same event at the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Junior National Championships. In 1979 Phillips also won the CCCAA title the 110 meter high hurdles Later that year at the AAU National Championships he recorded a personal ...

Article

Gregory Travis Bond

athlete, classical scholar, singer, postal worker, and teacher, was born in Hannibal, Missouri, to James Poage, a tanner, and Annie Coleman Poage, a domestic worker. Both parents were Missouri-born, and Annie claimed to have “freedom papers,” issued either before the outbreak of the Civil War or before the 13th Amendment in 1865. Poage’s siblings were Lulu Belle Poage and Nellie Poage, the future mother of attorney Howard Jenkins, Jr. The Poages moved to La Crosse, Wisconsin, in 1884, where James was employed as coachman and Anna as cook and domestic servant at the estate of Albert Pettibone, a wealthy lumber mill owner. After the deaths of Lulu Belle in 1887 and James of tuberculosis in 1888 Anna and her two surviving children moved to the Albert Clark Easton and Lucian Frederick Easton estate where Anna was stewardess in charge of domestic ...

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

Leroy Nesbitt and Desmond Wolfe

educator, feminist, and tennis player, 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 of 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 ...

Article

Erin D. Somerville

Equestrian and man of letters, favourite of the Duchess of Queensberry and contemporary of Ignatius Sancho and Olaudah Equiano. Born on the Caribbean island of St Kitts, he was brought to England at the age of 10 and given to the Duchess of Queensberry as a gift. Under the Duchess's direction Soubise became an accomplished fencer and equestrian, serving as assistant to the Italian fencing master Dominico Angelo Malevolti Tremamondo.

Soubise is best remembered as a fop in London high society. Claiming to be an African prince, he was known for entertaining audiences in fashionable London clubs with comic songs and amateur theatre. He often escorted aristocratic women to the opera and was rumoured to be sexually engaged with the Duchess—a relationship depicted in an engraving by William Austin of the pair fencing (1773).

While Soubise regarded himself as a talented letter writer and poet of ...

Article

National Football league player, teacher, and Chrysler automobile executive, was born on 18 April 1926 in LaMott, Pennsylvania, to Mahlon Triplett and Estella Triplett. His father was a postal clerk and his mother was a housemaid. Triplett lived in LaMott for his entire childhood, playing baseball, basketball, and football while attending Cheltenham High School. Triplett was accepted by Pennsylvania State University and made the football team starting line at the position of right halfback during his sophomore year in 1946. This made him the first black athlete to earn a varsity letter at Penn State. In November 1946 Penn State canceled a game with Miami University because Miami had told Penn State to “leave the negro players at home” (Sargent), referring to Triplett. Penn State would not tolerate such treatment of its players, black or white. In 1948 Penn State played to a 13 ...

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David A. Joens

, educator, athlete, and politician, was born in Alton, Illinois, the fourth of seven children raised by Jesse White, the owner of a janitorial service, and Julia Mae White, a-homemaker. In 1943 White's family moved to Chicago, where he attended Schiller Elementary School and Waller High School (later Lincoln Park Academy). A star athlete in high school, White earned all-city honors in both basketball and baseball. He attended Alabama State College (now Alabama State University) on a scholarship and earned all-conference honors in both sports. After graduating from Alabama State with a degree in Physical Education, White signed a contract to play baseball for the Chicago Cubs organization. Shortly after the contract was signed, the U.S. Army drafted him. White spent two years in-the army (1957–1959), serving as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division.

In 1959 he received an honorable discharge from the army ...

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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 ...