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Joe Dorinson

baseball player, was born Monford Merill Irvin in Halesburg, Alabama, the seventh of ten children of Cupid Alexander Irvin and Mary Eliza Henderson, sharecroppers. When his father challenged a white sharecrop boss, the family had to flee, first to Albany, Georgia, and then to Bloomfield, New Jersey. The Irvins ended their flight in Orange, New Jersey. There Monte attended integrated schools. But the restaurants were segregated, and movie theaters confined blacks to the balcony. Like Paul Robeson and Jackie Robinson, with letters in football, track, basketball, and baseball, Irvin earned a reputation as his high school's greatest athlete. On graduation night, however, Monte and his date, along with two other black couples, could not eat at a local restaurant near school because of their color.

Sports provided opportunity A scout from the University of Michigan offered Irvin a football scholarship Unfortunately he lacked the funds to reach ...


James M. Salem

entrepreneur and record label owner, was born Don Deadric Robey in Houston, Texas, the son of Zeb Robey and Gertrude (maiden name unknown). Little is known of his childhood. Don dropped out of high school in the eleventh grade, reportedly to become a professional gambler in Houston nightspots frequented by African Americans; later he was suspected of being involved in the city's numbers operation. He also entered the taxi business prior to World War II and established a business in entertainment promotion, bringing name bands and celebrity attractions into segregated sections of the Houston area.

Though Robey opened his first nightclub in 1937, it was the postwar Bronze Peacock Dinner Club, opened in 1946, that he parlayed into an interconnected set of entertainment and music businesses that made him, according to the Houston Informer one of the city s foremost black business wizards Robey s skill ...


Sarah L. Trembanis

professional Negro League catcher and major league baseball talent scout, was born in Dublin, Georgia, to Mary and Charles, a sharecropper. Troupe was the youngest of ten children. The Troupe family joined the Great Migration of African Americans fleeing the South for greater opportunities in urban centers in the North. Following a difficult encounter with a white overseer, Troupe's father and two of his older brothers moved to St. Louis in order to find work and secure enough money to bring the rest of the family to Missouri. Troupe stayed behind with his mother and other siblings, and when Troupe was ten years old, his father sent money for train fare, and the family was reunited in St. Louis. The family soon settled in Compton Hill where Troupe attended Touissaint L'Overture Elementary School and Vashon High School in the 1920s.

Troupe competed on both his high school and ...