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Adam R. Hornbuckle

track-and-field athlete, was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Shadreak Johnson, a plasterer; his mother's name and occupation are not known. Shadreak Johnson had moved from Raleigh, North Carolina, to California in 1893 for better economic and social opportunities. Cornelius first competed in organized track-and-field events at Berendo Junior High School in Los Angeles. He achieved greater athletic success as a student at Los Angeles High School, competing statewide in the sprints and the high jump. His skill as a high jumper earned him a position on the 1932 U.S. Olympic team. While only a junior in high school, Johnson tied the veteran performers Robert van Osdel and George Spitz for first place at a height of 6 feet 65⁄8 inches at the 1932 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Championship, which also served as the Olympic trials.

One of four African Americans representing the United States in ...

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Jon L. Brudvig

athlete, Olympian, and media personality, was born Rafer Lewis Johnson in Hillsboro, Texas, the son of Lewis Johnson, a laborer, and Alma Gibson, a domestic. Rafer had one brother, Jim, who later played in the National Football League, and two sisters, Emma and Dolores. When jobs became scarce during the Great Depression the family relocated to Oklahoma, only to return to Dallas a short time later where Lewis Johnson worked as a handyman for a company that manufactured drilling implements and Alma Johnson secured a position as a domestic for the proprietor's family. Texas acquainted Rafer Johnson with institutionalized segregation and racism. Like countless others, the Johnson family moved to California during World War II. Besides the promise of higher-paying jobs, the relocation also carried with it the hope of leaving Jim Crow permanently behind them. In 1945 when defense contractors began downsizing ...

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Charles Orson Cook

sprinting champion who later served as a U.S. congressman. Although overshadowed by Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympics, the track-and-field star Ralph Harold Metcalfe was America's premier sprinter for several years in the early 1930s. He was born in Atlanta on 30 May 1910, the third son of Clarence and Mamie Holmes Metcalfe, but shortly thereafter the family moved to Chicago, where his father found employment in the city's stockyards and his mother was a dressmaker. Metcalfe was the national interscholastic sprint champion in 1929, and at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he was the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) champion in the 100- and 220-yard dashes for three successive years, from 1932 through 1934.

In the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles he won the silver medal in the 100 meter dash and the bronze in the 200 meters He equaled or broke world ...

Article

David L. Porter

Metcalfe, Ralph Harold (30 May 1910–10 October 1978), track and field athlete and U.S. congressman, was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Clarence Metcalfe, a stockyard worker, and Marie Attaway, a seamstress. He moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1917, grew up in a slum area on the South Side, and attended Tilden Technical High School. Metcalfe won the 1929 interscholastic track-and-field sprint championship and, as a member of the Chase Athletic Club, captured the 1930 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) junior 100-yard title in 9.7 seconds.

A 5′ 11″, 180-pound speedster, Metcalfe attended Marquette University, breezing through the 1932 track-and-field season undefeated in both the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes and taking both events at the NCAA and AAU championships. That same year Metcalfe dethroned Eddie Tolan as the dominant American sprinter On 11 June he tied Tolan s world mark in the 100 yard dash and shattered ...

Article

David L. Porter

track-and-field athlete and U.S. congressman, was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Clarence Metcalfe, a stockyard worker, and Marie Attaway, a seamstress. He moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1917, grew up in a slum area on the South Side, and attended Tilden Technical High School. Metcalfe won the 1929 interscholastic track-and-field sprint championship and, as a member of the Chase Athletic Club, captured the 1930 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) junior 100-yard title in 9.7 seconds.

A 5-foot 11-inch, 180-pound speedster, Metcalfe attended Marquette University, breezing through the 1932 track-and-field season undefeated in both the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes and taking both events at the NCAA and AAU championships. That same year Metcalfe dethroned Eddie Tolan as the dominant American sprinter. On 11 June he tied Tolan s world mark in the 100 yard dash and shattered the world record in the 220 yard dash ...

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 ...

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Maureen M. Smith

Olympic track-and-field gold medalist and world record holder, was born in Clarksville, Texas, to James Richard, a sharecropper, and Dora Smith. Tommie, the seventh of twelve children, grew up on a farm where his family raised hogs and cows and picked cotton. Like many black Texans hoping to escape the misery of the Jim Crow South, the Smiths moved to the San Joaquin Valley of California and settled in Lemoore. There, Smith's athletic track career began in the fourth grade, when he raced the fastest kid at his school, his older sister, Sallie, and won. He struggled academically but nonetheless decided in the sixth grade that he wanted to be a teacher. Recognizing the lack of attention given to his own learning difficulties, he hoped that he might serve students more effectively.Smith grew rapidly as he entered his teenage years and he excelled ...

Article

Adam R. Hornbuckle

was born William Samuel Steele in El Centro, California, the only son of Theodore S. Steele and Laura Tompkins. In 1927 the family moved to San Diego and Steele later attended Herbert Hoover High School. In 1941 he won the long jump in 24 feet ¾ inch at the Southern Section of the California State High School Track and Field Championships and finished second at the State Championships in 23 feet 3½ inches. After graduating from high school that same year, Steele enrolled in San Jose State College and joined the track and field team. Coached by Lloyd “Bud” Winter, he won the long jump at the 1942 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Junior National Track and Field Championships. His jump of 25 feet 7¼ inches ranked as the longest performance in the world that year. In 1942 Steele also recorded a career best in the triple jump of 47 ...

Article

Adam R. Hornbuckle

His father worked as a truck driver, and Whitfield grew up in Los Angeles, where his family moved when was four years old. Soon after relocating to California, his father died, as did his mother when he was twelve years old; his older sister Betty Clark gained legal custody of him to prevent him from being sent to an orphanage. In 1932 Whitfield snuck into the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where the Olympic Games were being held, and witnessed Eddie Tolan and Ralph Metcalfe finish first and second, respectively, in the 100 meters, an event which inspired him to become a championship runner. After graduating Thomas Jefferson High School in 1943, he joined the U.S. Army Air Forces, and served in the racially segregated group known as the Tuskegee Airmen.

After the end of World War II in 1945 Whitfield continued to serve in the U S Army ...

Article

Adam R. Hornbuckle

was born in Fresno, California, the son of Idel McGee Williams. His father’s name is unrecorded. Randy Lavelle Williams played football and competed in the 100-yard and 220-yard dashes, 4 × 110-yard relay, long jump, and triple jump at Edison High School in Fresno. At the California Interscholastic Federation State Championships, he finished third in the long jump in 1969, second in 1970, and first in 1971. At the 1971 Golden West Invitational, Williams won the long jump in 25 feet 2½ inches (7.68 meters) and finished third in the triple jump at 49 feet 8½ inches (15.15 meters).

After graduating from Edison in 1971 Williams accepted an athletic scholarship to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles As a member of the track team he won the long jump at the Pacific Athletic Conference PAC 10 Championships the National Collegiate Athletic Association NCAA Championships ...