100 Pioneers: African-Americans Who Broke Color Barriers in Sport

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Through an effective combination of historical research and personal interviews, 100 Pioneers offers compelling portraits of the dedicated athletes who broke color barriers on college campuses and in professional sports all around the country. These engaging accounts detail the adversities they faced and the victories they achieved.

  • Part 1 includes well-known figures such as Jackie Robinson and Tony Dungy, as well as other, lesser-known pioneers in professional baseball, football, basketball, hockey, tennis, golf, and boxing.
  • Part 2 presents the inspiring stories of college coaches, athletics directors, and student-athletes who were the first African-Americans to fill their respective roles.
  • Part 3 highlights the impressive feats of African-American athletes accomplished on the world stage of the Olympic Games.

Chapters

  • 1 An Introduction: Race and Sport in America
  • 2 Major League Baseball: African-American Pioneers in America's Favorite Pastime
  • 3 NFL Pioneers: A Story of Pioneers in Two Eras
  • 4 NBA: The NBA Is the Pioneer Leader
  • 5 National Hockey League: African American Players in a Traditionally White Sport
  • 6 Tennis and Golf: Country Clubs' Slow Integration of Great Sports
  • 7 Boxing: Champions Who Set the World Stage
  • 8 College Coaching Ranks Still Show Long Way to Go in Spite of Great Pioneers
  • 9 College Administrators: African-American Athletics Directors Who Opened the Door
  • 10 Student-Athletes Play with Courage
  • 11 World Stage Pioneers: African-American Olympians
  • 12 Conclusion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contents

Foreword by John Thompson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xv

Acknowledgments. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xvii

CHAPTER

1

An Introduction:

Race and Sport in America 1

Part One: Professional Sport

CHAPTER

2

Major League Baseball:

African-American Pioneers in America’s Favorite Pastime 9

Jackie Robinson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

First African-American Player in MLB

Larry Doby . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

First African-American Player in MLB’s American League

John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

First African-American Coach in MLB

Frank Robinson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

First African-American Manager in MLB

Bill Lucas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

First African-American General Manager in MLB

Bill White . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

First African-American National League President of MLB

Cito Gaston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

First African-American Manager in MLB to Win a World Series

Bob Watson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

First African-American General Manager in MLB’s

American League

Ulice Payne, Jr.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

First African-American President in MLB

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CHAPTER

3

NFL Pioneers:

A Story of Pioneers in Two Eras 47

Frederick Douglass “Fritz” Pollard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

First African-America Coach in the NFL

Kenny Washington . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

One of the First Two African-American Players

in the Modern-Day NFL

Woodrow “Woody” Strode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

One of the First Two African-American Players

in the Modern-Day NFL

Arthur Shell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

First African-American Coach in the Modern-Day NFL

Ozzie Newsome. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

First African-American General Manager in the NFL

Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68

First African-American Coaches to Face Off in the Super Bowl

Tony Dungy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71

First African-American Coach to Win the Super Bowl

CHAPTER

4

NBA Barrier Breakers 75

Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78

First African-American Player to Be Signed to the NBA

Charles “Chuck” Cooper. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84

First African-American Player to Be Drafted into the NBA

Earl Lloyd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87

First African-American Player to Play in the NBA

Don Angelo Barksdale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90

First African-American to Be Selected to an NBA All-Star Team

Bill Russell. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93

First African-American Head Coach of Any Major

Professional Sport

Wayne Embry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97

First African-American General Manager and President

of a Professional Sports Franchise

Al Attles and K. C. Jones. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101

First African-American Coaches to Face Off in a Professional

Championship

Peter Bynoe and Robert Johnson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104

First African-American Team Owners of a Professional

Sports Franchise

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CHAPTER

5

National Hockey League: African-

American Players in a Traditionally White Sport 109

Willie O’Ree. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113

First Black Player in the NHL

CHAPTER

6

Tennis and Golf:

Country Clubs’ Slow Integration of Great Sports 117

Althea Gibson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123

First African-American to Win Wimbledon

Arthur Ashe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128

First African-American to Win Wimbledon and the U.S. Open

Charlie Sifford. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133

First African-American Golfer on the PGA Tour

Lee Elder. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136

First African-American to Play in the Masters

CHAPTER

7

Boxing

:

Champions Who Set the World Stage 139

John Arthur “Jack” Johnson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141

First African American World Heavyweight Boxing Champion

Joe Louis Barrow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145

African-American Boxing Pioneer for the Human Race

Muhammad Ali . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149

“The Greatest”

Part Two: College Sport

CHAPTER

8

College Coaching Ranks Still

Show Long Way to Go in Spite of Great Pioneers 157

Larry Ellis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163

First African-American Head Coach in the Ivy League

Payton Fuller. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165

First African-American Head Coach in the Big Ten Conference

Fletcher Carr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167

First African-American Head Coach in the Southeastern

Conference

Marian Washington . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171

First African-American Coach in the Big 12 Conference

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Willie Jefferies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173

First African-American Head Football Coach at a Division

I-A University

Robert Purnell Wade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176

First African-American Coach in the Atlantic Coast Conference

John Thompson, Jr. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179

Black Coaches & Administrators

George Raveling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183

Black Coaches & Administrators

John Chaney . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187

Black Coaches & Administrators

Nolan Richardson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191

Black Coaches & Administrators

Eddie Robinson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 194

A Once-in-a-Lifetime Man

Carolyn Peck . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201

First African-American Female Head Coach to Win an NCAA

Women’s Basketball Championship

C.Vivian Stringer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205

First Basketball Coach to Take Three Schools to the Final Four

Tyrone Willingham . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209

First African-American Coach to Win a Division I-A Bowl Game

CHAPTER

9

College Administrators:

African-American Athletics Directors

Who Opened the Door 213

Abraham Molineaux Hewlett and Charles Harris . . . . . . . . . . . 217

First African-American Athletics Directors in the Ivy League

Gale Sayers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221

First African-American Athletics Director at a Major

Division 1 Institution

McKinley Boston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225

First African-American Athletics Director in the Big Ten Conference

Gene Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229

First African-American Athletics Director in the Big 12 Conference

Craig Littlepage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 232

First African-American Athletics Director in the Atlantic Coast

Conference

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Damon Evans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 236

First African-American Athletics Director in the

Southeastern Conference

CHAPTER

10

Student-Athletes Play with Courage 239

Section 1

Southeastern Conference Student-Athlete Pioneers

245

Nat Northington . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 246

First African-American Student-Athlete at the University

of Kentucky and in the SEC

Lester McClain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 249

First African-American Football Scholarship Student-Athlete

at the University of Tennessee

Perry Wallace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 253

First African-American Student-Athlete at Vanderbilt University

Maxie Foster. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 257

First African-American Student-Athlete at the University of Georgia

Henry Harris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 260

First African-American Student-Athlete at Auburn University

Ron Coleman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264

First African-American Student-Athlete at the University of Florida

Jon Richardson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267

First African-American Student-Athlete at the University of Arkansas

Coolidge Ball . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 271

First African-American Student-Athlete at the University

of Mississippi

Collis Temple, Jr. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 275

First African-American Student-Athlete at Louisiana State University

Wendell Hudson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278

First African-American Student-Athlete at the University of Alabama

Section 2

Atlantic Coast Conference Student-Athlete Heroes

283

Lou Montgomery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 284

First African-American Student-Athlete at Boston College

Irwin Holmes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 287

First African-American Student-Athlete at North Carolina State

University

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Darryl Hill. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 291

First African-American Student-Athlete at University of Maryland

William Smith, Robert Grant, and Kenneth Henry . . . . . . . . . . 295

First African-American Student-Athletes at Wake Forest University

C. B. Claiborne . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 298

First African-American Student-Athlete at Duke University

Fred Flowers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 301

First African-American Student-Athlete at Florida State University

Ray Bellamy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 305

First African-American Student-Athlete at the University of Miami

Charlie Scott. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 309

First African-American Student-Athlete at the University of North

Carolina, Chapel Hill

Jerry Gaines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 312

First African-American Scholarship Student-Athlete at the Virginia

Polytechnic Institute of Technology

Eddie McAshan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 316

First African-American Scholarship Student-Athlete at the Georgia

Institute of Technology

Craig Mobley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319

First African-American Scholarship Student-Athlete

at Clemson University

Section 3

Big 12 Conference Student-Athlete Barrier Breakers

323

Sherman, Grant, and Ed Harvey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 324

First African-American Student-Athletes at theUniversity of Kansas

George Flippin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 327

First African-American Student-Athlete at the University of Nebraska

Johnny “Jack” Trice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 330

First African-American Student-Athlete at Iowa State University

Harold Robinson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 333

First African-American Student-Athlete at Kansas State University

Al Abram. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 336

First African-American Student-Athlete at the University of Missouri

Prentice Gautt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 339

First African-American Student-Athlete at the University of Oklahoma

Orlando Hazley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 343

First African-American Student-Athlete at Oklahoma State University

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James Means . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 345

First African-American Student-Athlete at the University of Texas

John Westbrook . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 347

First African-American Student-Athlete at Baylor University

Section 4

Big Ten Student-Athlete Trailblazers

353

Moses Fleetwood Walker. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 354

First African-American Student-Athlete at University of Michigan

Frederick Douglass Patterson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 359

First African-American Student-Athlete at The Ohio State University

Preston Eagleson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 362

First African-American Student-Athlete at Indiana University

Carleton W.“Kinney” Holbrook . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 366

First African-American Student-Athlete at the University of Iowa

Julian Ware and Adelbert Richard Matthews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 370

First African-American Student-Athletes at the University

of Wisconsin

Roy Young and Hiram Wheeler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 373

First African-American Student-Athletes at the University of Illinois

Bobby “Rube” Marshall. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 375

First African-American Football Player at the University of Minnesota

Cumberland Posey, Jr. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 378

First African-American Student-Athlete at The Pennsylvania

State University

Gideon Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 382

First African-American Student-Athlete at Michigan State University

Section 5

Ivy League Leaders

387

William Edward White . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 388

First African-American Student-Athlete at Brown University

William Henry Lewis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 392

First African-American Student-Athlete at Harvard University

Matthew Washington Bullock. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 396

First African-American Student-Athlete at Dartmouth University

John Howard Johnson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 400

First African-American Student-Athlete at Columbia University

Jerome “Brud” Holland. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 402

First African-American Student-Athlete at Cornell University

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Arthur Wilson, Jr. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 406

First African-American Student-Athlete at Princeton University

Jay James Swift . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 409

First African-American Student-Athlete at Yale University

Student-Athlete Epilogue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 411

“Ball Like Paul”

Paul Robeson, The Triple Threat

Part Three: Olympic Sport

CHAPTER

11

World Stage Pioneers:

African-American Olympians 417

John Baxter Taylor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 420

First African-American to Win an Olympic Gold Medal

James Cleveland “Jesse” Owens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 424

First American in Olympic Track and Field History to Win Four

Gold Medals

Alice Coachman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 427

First African-American Woman to Win an Olympic Gold Medal

Wilma Ruldolph . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 430

First American Woman to Win Three Gold Medals

Tommie Smith and John Carlos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 434

Shaking Up the Sports World

Jackie Joyner-Kersee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 437

The “First Lady” of Olympic Track and Field

Vonetta Flowers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 443

First African-American Woman to Win a Winter Olympics

Gold Medal

Shani Davis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 446

First African-American Winter Olympics Gold Medalist in an

Individual Sport

CHAPTER

12

Conclusion 449

Epilogue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 453

Keeper of the Flame

About the National Consortium . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 457

for Academics and Sports

About the Authors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 461

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