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Paul Stillwell

pioneer black naval officer, was born in Oberlin, Ohio, one of five children (two boys and three girls) of James and Margaret Barnes. James, from North Carolina, was a chef at Oberlin College, and Margaret, from Kentucky, ran a family laundry. Soon after they married, Barnes's parents settled in Oberlin to raise their family because of the community's liberal atmosphere. They were aware of the role the town had played as a way station on the Underground Railroad for fugitive slaves in the nineteenth century. Barnes received the bulk of his education in Oberlin. He graduated from high school there in 1932 and was elected to the National Honor Society. In 1936 he graduated from Oberlin College with a bachelor s degree in Physical Education He was an outstanding athlete who played end on the college s football team and starred on the track team He established a ...

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Jason Philip Miller

professional football player, was born Lemuel Jackson Barney in Gulfport, Mississippi. Information about his upbringing and personal life is difficult to come by. He played football as a young man, attending local schools in Gulfport and playing a multitude of positions—including punter and defensive back—on his high school team. In 1963 he matriculated at the historically black Jackson State, where he made the team and was again a standout. He played three seasons and had twenty-seven interceptions. He also served as the team's punter.

In 1967 Barney graduated with a bachelor s degree in Health and Science and only then entered the National Football League NFL draft He was taken in the second round by the Detroit Lions and it was with the Lions that Barney would spend his entire career His life in the Lions silver and blue got off to an auspicious start Barney playing defensive ...

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Alwyn Barr

entrepreneur and political organizer, was born to Louisa and Theodore Bellinger, a blacksmith in Lockhart, a small town in Caldwell County in south central Texas. As a teenager he began to work in Lockhart, Texas, for Jeff Howard, who owned a saloon. There he became a dealer for card games that involved betting.

Using his own savings along with loans he acquired from Howard and the Pearl Brewery, Bellinger moved to San Antonio, where by 1906 he had opened his own saloon His success as a gambler grew into a regional and national reputation with trips to Chicago and New York to gamble As an entrepreneur he diversified his investments by adding a real estate office a construction company a café a pool room a barbershop a theater a baseball team a lottery and a taxi service When Prohibition came in the 1920s rumors suggested he ...

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Boyd Childress

football player and labor activist, was born in Trenton, New Jersey, the first of nine children born to Jesse and Henrietta Bethea. Bethea grew up poor, with his father finding whatever jobs he could while his mother worked out of the home as a hairdresser. His father, who enforced a strict home environment, did not think much of football as he struggled in a low-paying factory job, but he did leave Elvin his blue-collar work ethic—a trait the son applied to his own life, especially in football. Bethea excelled in football at Trenton Central High School and was offered a football scholarship at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical University in Greensboro, where he made All-America as a two way lineman. At North Carolina A & T, Bethea played under the assistant coach Hornsby Howell who pushed him to succeed not only in sports but also in life ...

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Daniel A. Dalrymple

football player, was born Melvin Carnell Blount in Vidalia, Georgia. Blount was the youngest of eleven children who grew up in rural Georgia in extreme poverty, often going barefoot and living in a home with no indoor plumbing. Blount's father, a deeply religious man, instilled values in his children through hard work and high expectations, and Blount recalled that some of the most satisfying moments of his childhood came from doing chores for his father and earning his praise. Blount learned football from his seven older brothers, who played a rough brand of football in which Blount excelled at an early age. In high school Blount proved that he was a gifted athlete on the football field and beyond. He was a multiple‐sports star, running track as well as playing baseball, basketball, and football. Blount made such an impression in high school that by the time he graduated in 1966 ...

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Adam R. Hornbuckle

the son of Arthur and Mamie Bradley; his father worked as a barber for the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad. Bradley, who grew up in the Chicago south side neighborhood of Woodlawn, attended Englewood High School. As a guard on the football team, he earned all-state honors. After graduating high school, Bradley entered the University of Iowa, in Iowa City. He played guard on the Hawkeyes’ football team from 1926 to 1928. Bradley, who became the second African American to play football at Iowa after Duke Slater, left the university before graduation, having received an offer to work as a carrier for the U.S. Postal Service. His, as well as Slater’s, athletic participation at Iowa, established the institution as a “safe haven” for black athletes.

Bradley s football skills caught the attention of Slater who was playing professional football for the Chicago Cardinals of the National Football ...

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Shana L. Redmond

pianist and composer, was born in Jacksonville, Florida, the son of Clark Benjamin Brown, himself the son of a former slave. Little is known of Brown's natural mother, who died when Lawrence was three; from then on, he was raised by his stepmother Cenia Brown.

During his youth Brown took music instruction from the well-respected William Riddick. Exhibiting incredible promise, Brown was sent to Boston to receive further instruction in his primary instrument, piano. In addition to scholarships, Brown financed his education in Boston by working as an elevator operator. In 1916 he made his professional music debut as accompanist for the tenor Sydney Woodward. With this exposure Brown caught the eye of other musicians, including the famed tenor Roland Hayes. Brown and Hayes toured abroad from 1918 to 1923 and received great popular acclaim They had many important engagements including a performance for ...

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Kimberly L. Malinowski

landscape painter, was born in Indiana but was raised by his grandparents in Parkersburg, West Virginia. His parents and grandparents sent him to Charlestown Institute where he was trained in house painting. In 1904 he began studying art at West Virginia Colored Institute in Institute, West Virginia. He graduated in 1910 from the academic department, where he was trained in watercolor and where he took painting as an industrial course.

Brown then moved to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania where he studied pictures to compare various styles of landscape paintings after which the Charlestown Institute invited him to teach house painting as a vocational art Instead Brown traveled to New York where he lived on two dollars a week without lodging Brown could not afford to both sleep at a hotel and eat He decided that he should eat and chose to sleep on the railway cars for brief snatches of time During ...

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Pellom McDaniels

football player and businessman, was born in Gainesville, Alabama, one of four children of Wallace Buchanan, a steelworker, and Fannie Mae Buchanan, a bank employee.

At Birmingham's prestigious Arthur Harold (A. H.) Parker Industrial High School, known as the “largest Negro school in the world,” (Carolyn McKinstry interview). Buchanan worked diligently to master his growing physical stature and athletic ability. Reaching six feet five inches in his senior year, Buchanan became a star athlete and was voted captain of both basketball and football teams. For Buchanan, as well as others who attended A. H. Parker from the late 1940s to the mid-1960s, the instructors were responsible for providing the students with a sense of race pride and inspired them to achieve beyond the expectations of the outside world.

In addition to the teachers at A H Parker High School Buchanan had several coaches and mentors who influenced ...

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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 ...

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Daniel R. Gilbert

football player, was born in New Salem, Pennsylvania, a coal mining district. The names and occupations of his parents cannot be ascertained. He never knew his father, who left the family soon after his son's birth and subsequently died in an accident. His mother moved to Elmira, New York, leaving one-year-old Ernie with his grandparents in nearby Uniontown, Pennsylvania. Ten years later Davis rejoined his mother in Elmira.

Davis's athletic career began at the Elmira Free Academy, where he starred in both basketball and football. He was named a Scholastic Coach magazine high school All-American in both sports in 1957–1958 but was recruited to play football by more than thirty-five schools, including Notre Dame. He chose to go to Syracuse University because of its nearness to Elmira and the intercession of an Elmira attorney and a Syracuse alumnus.

Davis led his freshman football team to an undefeated season in ...

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David Borsvold

NFL football player and entrepreneur, was born William Delford Davis in rural Lisbon, Louisiana, to David Davis, a laborer, and Nodie Bell Davis. The family struggled in the poverty of the Depression and Davis's parents instilled in him a strong work ethic. He attended Booker T. Washington High School in Texarkana, Texas, where he played football for coach Nathan Jones. As Davis grew tall and athletic, Jones emphasized that a big, strong man could also be intelligent and could transcend commonly held misconceptions about athletes.

Willie was the first member of his family to go to college, entering Grambling University on a football scholarship and playing for the legendary coach Eddie Robinson Majoring in industrial arts with minors in mathematics and physical education he excelled in both sports and academics serving as team captain and making the dean s list in both his junior and ...

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Edward M. Burmila

football player, was born Anthony Drew Dorsett in the steel mill town of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, one of seven children of Wes Dorsett, a mill worker, and Myrtle Dorsett. As a child Tony was timid and respectful, a sharp contrast to his older brothers who were wilder and often in trouble. His parents were determined that their youngest son not follow the same path. Wes did hard, dangerous work to provide for the family and looked forward to a future in which his children would not have to do the same. All of the Dorsett siblings had excelled in sports, particularly football, and Tony felt pressure to follow suit. Although he was frail physically and a bit frightened by the game, he began playing football in junior high and displayed the rare speed that his brothers also exhibited.

As part of a school busing plan initiated to remedy ...

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Joseph Wilson David

The game known in the United States as football evolved into its current form from rugby and soccer (“soccer” is still called “football” in most countries outside North America) in the nineteenth century. The Intercollegiate Football Association (IFA) was founded in 1876 to organize this new game. Rules for the precursor to the modern game were developed by the twenty-year-old Walter Camp at Yale University in 1879.

Camp codified innovations begun earlier in the century when William Ebb Ellis playing soccer violated the rule against running with the ball The modern sport of football in the United States is a game that features eleven players on each side of the ball with the team on offense seeking to move the ball ten yards on each play or down which begins with the snap of the ball Failing to gain ten yards in four downs means turning the ball ...

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Alonford James Robinson

For many years, black college football in the United States centered on historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). African American football players were not welcome on white campuses until the late 1950s, and not until the late 1960s in the Deep South. Before that time, Jim Crow segregation meant separate teams and leagues for black players.

The first black college football game took place in North Carolina in 1892; Biddle College defeated Livingston College. Thereafter, black college football became a major social event on campus, bringing students and alumni together. By the beginning of the twentieth century, several major school rivalries had developed, including Virginia Union-Virginia State, Tuskegee Institute-Talladega College, and Fisk University-Meharry College. The intensity and popularity of these rivalries persuaded several colleges to form a conference in 1912. That year Howard University, Lincoln University, Hampton University and Shaw University of North ...

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Alonford James Robinson

American professional football originated in 1869 from a combination of two internationally popular games, rugby and soccer. During the early years of professional football, African Americans were banned from teams in the country's premier league, the National Football League (NFL). Today, African Americans dominate the sport on the playing field, but have yet to be sufficiently represented in the ranks of coaches and managers.

The first known African American to play professional football was running back Charles Follis, who signed with the Shelby Athletic Club of Shelby, Ohio, in 1902. Professional football moved toward full racial integration in intermittent waves. For thirty-one years the playing field was integrated, although in a limited way, with a relatively small number of black players. Then, in 1933, the NFL banned African American athletes entirely. When the NFL was reintegrated in 1946 black players made an immediate impact upon the ...

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Lloyd J. Graybar

football player, was born Leonard Guy Ford Jr. in Washington, D.C., the son of Leonard Guy Ford, a federal government employee. His mother's name is not known. Ford attended public schools in Washington and graduated from Armstrong High School, where as a senior he captained the football, baseball, and basketball teams and earned All-City honors in football in both 1942 and 1943. Ford recalled that his ambition was to play major league baseball, but since segregation prevented him from doing so he instead enrolled at Morgan State University, an all-black school in Baltimore, Maryland. There he played basketball and football, winning all-conference honors as a tackle his one year at Morgan. In 1944 Ford entered the U.S. Navy, where he met people who told him that at 6'5'' and over 220 pounds he should play at a higher competitive level.

As he neared his discharge in 1945 ...

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basketball coach, was born in Paducah, Kentucky, the only child of Lester Gaines, a cook, and Olivia Bolen, a domestic worker. By the time he entered Lincoln High School in rural Paducah, he was already six feet, five inches tall and weighed 265 pounds. He became a powerhouse on the football team and made All-Conference. In 1941 Gaines graduated third in his class of thirty-five.

Education was very important to his parents, so it was understood that he would go to college. While visiting Morgan State College in Baltimore, where he ultimately enrolled in 1941, the business manager, James “Stump” Carter, spotted Gaines walking across campus and exclaimed, “Man! The only thing I've ever seen bigger than you is a house!” (Gaines, 2004). From that day forward Gaines became known as “Big House.”

Gaines excelled in college athletics He made All American for two years and ...

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professional football player, was born in Brackenridge, Pennsylvania, to Pittsburgh steelworkers Otto and Rose Gilchrist. Gilchrist loved sweets as a child, and was thus given the nickname “Cookie.” He attended Har-Brack High School in nearby Natrona Heights, where he was a star player, leading his team to an area championship in 1953. Though in his youth he had visions of becoming a doctor, Gilchrist's increasingly apparent physical gifts steered him toward sports. A gifted athlete, a bruising runner and blocker—“Cookie” was Jim Brown before there was a Jim Brown. With over one hundred college scholarship offers by his junior year, Gilchrist signed a professional contract with owner Paul Brown of the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League NFL Because he was nineteen years old the contract violated NFL rules so Gilchrist left the Browns training camp for Canada where he played in the Ontario Rugby ...

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Daniel A. Dalrymple

football player, was born Charles Edward Greene in Temple, Texas, one of four children raised by his mother Cleo after his father, whose name is unknown, abandoned the family. Greene would later credit much of his ferocity on the football field to an encounter he had with a local bully nicknamed “Old Speedy.” After the bully had stolen five dollars from Greene's mother, Greene took matters into his own hands and successfully battled the bully.

At Dunbar High School, Greene was known as a strong pass rusher with a knack for slashing through blockers and getting to the quarterback. His work ethic, along with his ferocity on the field, got him noticed by several college football programs. He was recruited by several schools before finally accepting a scholarship at North Texas State University. Greene played for North Texas State from 1965 until 1968 leaving the university after two ...