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Susan J. Rayl

professional basketball player, was born Charles Theodore Cooper in Newark, Delaware, the son of Theodore Cooper and Evelyn (whose maiden name is unknown). He was a standout for the Central High School basketball team in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he graduated in 1925. Cooper immediately began a twenty-year career in professional basketball, playing initially with the Philadelphia Panther Pros in 1925, then going on to star for the all-black Philadelphia Giants from 1926 to 1929. Robert Douglas, owner of the famed all-black professional team the New York Renaissance, spotted Cooper in a game at Philadelphia and signed him the next day to play for his team. Cooper then began an eleven-year stint with the Rens, named for their home court, the Renaissance Ballroom in Harlem. Over these eleven years the Rens earned a record of 1,303 wins and 203 losses.

At six feet four inches Cooper was ...

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Samuel W. Black

athlete and physical director, was born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, one of eight children of Allen Dorsey, a shipping clerk, and Mary C. Sparksman. Allegheny City was later incorporated as part of Pittsburgh's north side. The five Dorsey brothers would all earn reputations as accomplished athletes in Pittsburgh's sporting community in the early twentieth century.

As a child Dorsey showed an interest in sports while watching students play basketball in the basement gym of the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. After the death of his father in 1905, he went to work to help support his family. The following year, while working as a janitor on a north side estate, he secretly opened the estate gymnasium for pickup basketball games and soon organized a team with practices held on Sundays. Two of the players who attended were the future Homestead Grays baseball legends Cum Posey and Sellers ...

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Claranne Perkins

basketball coach, was born Charlaine Vivian Stoner in Edenborn, Pennsylvania, the oldest of six children of Charles “Buddy” Stoner, a coal miner by day and a talented jazz musician on weekends, and Thelma “Bird” Stoner. Siblings included Verna, Tim, Madeline, Richelle “Ricky,” and Jack.

Stringer was named Charlaine after her father; she states in her memoir, “it's so much of a boy's name, which is why I never use it. Not that it matters—these days; pretty much everyone assumes that the C stands for Coach” (Stringer, p. 36). As a young girl in Edenborn, Stringer spent a lot of time playing football and basketball with the boys and playing softball. “I always just wanted to play,” Stringer said. “Playing for the sake of playing was enough for me” (Stringer, p. 29).

Since there were no girls teams in her high school Stringer decided to ...

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Joan S. Hult

Stringer is the most significant black basketball coach in the history of the women’s game. In 2001, she became one of the first black women inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Equally as impressive, Sports Illustrated recognized her in 2003 as one of the “101 Most Influential Minorities in Sports.” From the 1980s into the early twenty-first century, Stringer was committed to breaking gender and race-related barriers. Her leadership and the respect she commanded as an exceptionally talented coach enabled her to become the first black woman head coach of a United States national women’s basketball team. Her squad won a bronze medal in the 1991 Pan American Games in Havana, Cuba. She successfully coached the 1989 U S World Championship zone qualification team Leading three different programs from obscurity to national prominence in her three decades as a head coach she is the only coach ...