Return to search page.
Anderson, Ezzrett, Jr.
Birth Year : 1920
Ezzrett Anderson, Jr. was born in Nashville, AR, according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census. He became one of the first African Americans from a predominantly African American school to play professional football when he joined the Los Angeles Dons in 1947. Anderson had attended Kentucky State University in Frankfort, KY, where he played football. He also played professional football with the Los Angeles Mustangs. He played for the Hollywood Bears in the Pacific Coast League when they won the title. He also played in the Canadian Football League for seven seasons (1948-1954) and was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in 2010. In addition to playing football, Ezzrett Anderson, Jr. was also an actor and appeared in 20 Hollywood films. For more see Smith, T., "Outside the pale; the exclusion of Blacks from the National Football League, 1934-1946," Journal of Sport History, 15, no. 3 (Winter 1988); and Pro Football Hall of Fame, General NFL History: African-Americans in Pro Football.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Football, Migration North, Migration West
Geographic Region: Nashville, Arkansas / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Canada
Bishop, Darryl R.
Birth Year : 1950
Darryl R. Bishop was born in Louisville, KY. In 1969, he was the first African American to play basketball for the University of Kentucky (UK), playing a few games as a walk-on, then withdrawing from the team. He had a more successful career as a defensive back on the football team. At that time at UK, football players could not play until their sophomore year. In spite of only playing three years, Bishop's career at UK was phenomenal. He holds the UK career record for most pass interceptions (14) and return yardage (376). He made more tackles (348) than any defensive back in UK history. He is also remembered for the 43-yard interception return touchdown in the 1971 win over Vanderbilt and the 97-yard touchdown return against Mississippi State. Darryl Bishop was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in January of 1974. Information provided by the University of Kentucky Athletics Media Relations Office. See also Fifty Years of the University of Kentucky African-American Legacy, 1949-1999. In March of 1974, Darryl R. Bishop signed to play with the newly formed World Football League [source: "Sports in brief," Lakeland Ledger, 03/05/1974, p.3B]. Bishop played with the New York Stars until he was cut from the team in July of 1974 [source: "Sports in brief," Spartanburg Herald-Journal, 07/06/1974, p.B3].
Brooks, Robert A. "Bob"
Birth Year : 1938
Robert A. Brooks was born in Winchester, KY. A six foot tall football player, he attended Oliver High and Clark County High School in Winchester. Louis Stout referred to Brooks as a "pure athlete" who displayed speed, quickness, agility and toughness. Brooks was a running back at Ohio State University, where he was designated an Ohio All American in 1960. He was selected in the 21st round of the 1961 draft by the New York Titans (later the New York Jets), an American Football League team. Brooks played one season, participating in 14 games and averaging 3.7 yards a carry. For more see Shadows of the past, by L. Stout; and Bob Brooks at the databaseFootball.com website.
Subjects: Football, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky
Buck, Vincent Lamont "Vince"
Birth Year : 1968
Vince Buck was born in Owensboro, KY, where he was an outstanding football player. He attended Central State University, where he was an NAIA All American and Defensive Player of the Year. In 1988, Buck, at 6'2", 185 pounds, led the nation in punt return average (34 punt returns, 21.5 yards per attempt) and interceptions (10, one for a touchdown). He was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the second round of the 1990 NFL draft. Buck played his entire professional football career with the Saints as a cornerback and safety from 1990-1995. The Saints had their first winning season in 1991 and they were in the playoffs 1990-1992. Buck broke his ankle during the 1995 season and was released in 1996. During his career, he had started in 64 of 84 games, had 354 tackles, and 10 interceptions. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1994-1999; S. Vied, "Buck lavished with praise for exploits at Central State," Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, 11/24/1988, p. 1B; Vince Buck at databaseFootball.com; and J. DeShazier, "Buck surprised to hear of release from Saints," Times-Picayune, 05/26/1996, Sports section, p. D1.
Geographic Region: Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky / New Orleans, Louisiana
Burse, Raymond M.
Birth Year : 1951
Burse was born in Hopkinsville, KY, the youngest of the twelve children of Joe and Lena Belle Burse. He was captain of his high school track and football teams and declined football scholarships to attend Centre College, where he majored in chemistry and math, graduating in 1973. While at Centre, Burse was named most outstanding individual in track at two invitational meets and was named to the All-College Athletic Conference Football Team in 1972. He also earned a Rhodes Scholarship and attended the University of Oxford, majoring in organic chemistry and graduating in 1975. While at Oxford, he became the first African American to earn three "Blues," one in rugby; Burse also participated in basketball, track, and crew. He returned to the U.S. to attend Harvard Law School, graduating in 1978. Burse has had many recognitions and awards. He served as president of Kentucky State University, 1982-1989, and is presently vice president and general counsel at GE Consumer and Industrial. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1985-2006; and M. Starks, "Raymond & Kim Burse," Who's Who in Black Louisville, 3rd ed. p.73.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Education and Educators, Football, Lawyers, Track & Field, Rugby
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky
Camp Knox Team [Colored Football]
In 1920, the Camp Knox Team was a Kentucky champion of Colored football. In November of that year, the "soldiers eleven" were preparing to travel to Indiana where they would face the Ex-Collegians, a Colored football team in Indianapolis. For more see "Ex-Collegians work," The Indianapolis Star, 11/16/1920, p.12. Camp Knox would become Fort Knox. It had been established by Congress in 1918 as a field artillery training range for Camp Zachary Taylor in Louisville, KY. There were thousands of Colored soldiers stationed at Camp Zachary Taylor during WWI. For more on Camp Knox see "Fort Knox" entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia by J. E. Kleber.
Subjects: Football, Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: [Camp Knox] Fort Knox, Bullitt, Hardin, and Meade Counties, Kentucky
Clark, Elmer S., Jr.
Birth Year : 1929
Elmer S. Clark, Jr. is a noted horseman, and a former athlete, educator, and coach. He was the first African American to become a peri-mutual judge of harness racing in the United States. Clark was sponsored by the Sportsman's Park when he attended the Harness Horse School in Columbus, Ohio, which prepared him to become a peri-mutual judge. He was also a paddock, placing, and senior Judge over the Chicago Trotting Horse Circuit. In addition, Clark was owner and trainer of his own racehorses beginning in 1962, he received his trainer's license in Chicago and raced his thoroughbred horses in locations such as Chicago, Detroit, and Atlantic City, and he raced his horses in Canada. He bought yearlings and trained them himself. His first horse was named Calico, and a few of the other horses were named Super Chief, Road Man, and the last horse he owned was Mr. Bo Jo. Clark was fairly successful with his racehorses, and had 30-40 winners including the horse Tide Me Over, and in 1990, he retired from the horse industry. Elmer S. Clark, Jr. was born in Louisville, KY, the son of Elmer S. (d.1984) and Mary F. Ross Clark. He was raised in Lexington, KY. His father, Elmer S. Clark, Sr., was a jockey and trainer who won the first race at North Aurora Exhibition Park [later Aurora Downs] near Chicago. In the 1930s, Clark Sr. was issued a jockey's license in Florida and may have been the first African American to receive such a license in that state, but it was revoked when it was learned that Elmer S. Clark, Sr. was an African American. His racing career ended and Elmer S. Clark, Sr. moved to New York where he had a limousine service. His son, Elmer Jr., was around horses most of his life, and uncles on both sides of the family were grooms. When he was a teenager, Clark Jr. was an exercise rider at Keeneland, and he also worked on Calumet Farm. He was mentored by Ben Jones, and worked with the horses Citation, Coaltown, Ponder, and many others. He worked with African American trainers and grooms such as Henry and Ernest Louden, Theopilus Irivn, and William Perry Smith who was the trainer for Burnt Cork, a horse that ran in the 1943 Kentucky Derby. Clark left the racetrack to go to college, he was the first member of his family to attend college. He enrolled at Kentucky State [now Kentucky State University] in 1948 on a football scholarship; he had graduated from old Dunbar High School in Lexington, where he was coached in football by Norman Passmore and in basketball by S. T. Roach. In college, Clark was the quarterback of the football team that won the 1948 post-season tournament known as Little Brown Jug, the opponent was Tennessee State A & I [now Tennessee State University]. His team also won the Vulcan Bowl in January of 1949, playing against North Carolina A & T. After one year at Kentucky State College, Clark went back to working with horses for a year, and in 1951, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served until 1953. Clark boxed some while he was in the Army. He fought in three battles during the Korean War and received an Honorable Discharge. Clark then returned to Kentucky State College where he was on the boxing team, the track team, the football team, and he was an assistant for the basketball team. He lettered in basketball, football, and boxing. After graduating from Kentucky State College in 1956, S. T. Roach informed Clark about three job openings. Clark took the teaching job in Franklin, KY, where he was also the school's football and basketball coach. While in Franklin, he met and married Catherine Sloss, and in 2012, the couple had been married for 54 years. Catherine Sloss was also a school teacher in her home town of Franklin. After one year of teaching in Franklin, Elmer and Catherine Clark moved to Chicago where Catherine was hired as a teacher in the Chicago Public School System, and Elmer was employed at Schlitz Brewing Company. He was the first African American to work for the advertising and marketing department at Schlitz. His territory was from 120th Street to the Loop and Clark promoted the beer from the brewery to the wholesalers. After four years with Schlitz, Elmer S. Clark, Jr. also became a school teacher, he taught at Dunbar High School in Chicago and he coached football and basketball. He was teaching school during the same period that he was buying and racing his racehorses. Elmer S. Clark, Jr. was recognized by the Bluegrass Black Business Association in 1993 as an outstanding African American owner and trainer of thoroughbred horses. In 1996, Clark was recognized at Pimlico Race Track in Baltimore, MD as an outstanding racehorse owner and trainer. This entry was suggested by Gregory Clark, the son of Catherine and Elmer S. Clark, Jr. Gregory Clark provided background information and copies of literature, letters, and an article citation. Additional information was acquired via a telephone interview with Elmer S. Clark, Jr. on 01/24/2012. See also Elmer S. Clark trainer record at Equibase.com; see Elmer S. Clark Jr. in the online Daily Racing Form dated between 1977-1987; see M. Davis, "Horseman knows the Rest of the Story," Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/10/2004, p.C1; and L. Shulman, "Last of a breed," Blood-Horse, 03/08/2003, pp.1392-1394 & p.1396.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Basketball, Boxers, Boxing, Education and Educators, Football, Jockeys, Horsemen, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North, Track & Field
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois
Collins, Alfred "Sonny"
Birth Year : 1953
Sonny Collins was born in 1953 in Madisonville, Kentucky. He played football at Madisonville High School as a running back. He was one of the top rushers in the state, accumulating 6,200 yards from 1968-1971. Collins was also a running back at the University of Kentucky from 1972 to 1975, where he is the career rush leader with 3,835 yards, one of the top five season rushers, and one of the top ten scorers. Collins' jersey was retired in 1991, and he was inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002. He was selected by the Atlanta Falcons as the 8th pick of the 2nd round of the 1976 NFL draft. In a game against San Francisco, Collins set a record when he rushed 31 times for 107 yards. A knee injury ended his career after one year with the Atlanta Falcons. For more see the Sonny Collins' listings in the KHSAA State Football Records; Sonny Collins on the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame Membership Archive; and N. Comer, "Troubled children get new pals UK football great recruits mentors," Lexington Herald-Leader, 09/24/1991.
See photo image of Sonny Collins in the article by J. Clay, "John Clay: Ex-Cat Collins - full-time biker and granddad - smooth as ever," Lexington Herald-Leader, 07/26/2012.
Geographic Region: Madisonville, Hopkins County, Kentucky
Birth Year : 1962
Ron Cooper was the first African American head football coach at the University of Louisville (U of L). He came to U of L in 1993 from Eastern Michigan University, where he had been the head football coach with a two year record of 9-13. He had also been the defensive coordinator at Murray State University, 1987-88. Cooper was at U of L for three years before being fired in December 1997; the team's record was 7-4 the first year, 5-6 the second, 1-10 the third. When he came to U of L, Cooper was one of five African American head football coaches at Division I-A schools, and at the age of 31, he was also the youngest. After leaving U of L, Cooper was hired as the head football coach at Alabama A&M, where he coached 1998-2001. The A&M team played in the 2000 championship game of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, and that year they led the nation in rushing defense. In his coaching career, Cooper has led teams to six bowl games. Ron Cooper was born in Huntsville, AL, and is a 1983 graduate of Jacksonville State University, where he lettered all four years in football. He earned his master's degree in 1986 at Appalachian State University. For more see G. Frenette, "Untapped talent pool Blacks often passed over for top spots," The Florida Times-Union, 12/15/1997, Sports section, p. B-1; The University of Louisville, by D. D. Cox and W. J. Morison; and Ron Cooper at LSUsports.net. See also the NKAA Database entry for Charles R. Strong, the second African American head football coach at U of L.
Geographic Region: Huntsville, Alabama / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Davis, William E. "Bunny"
Birth Year : 1917
Death Year : 2001
Born in Perryville, KY, William E. Davis played football, baseball and basketball at Bate High School in Danville. He was an all-state forward in basketball and selected to play on the All American Negro High School basketball team of 1936. It is thought that Davis was the first African American basketball player to be named an All-American. Davis could run the 100-yard dash in 9.7 seconds. He played semi-pro baseball prior to integration: in 1947 he joined the Lexington Hustlers, the first integrated baseball team in the South. Davis was the first African American to umpire baseball in state high school tournaments and the Kentucky Southeastern Conference. He was also the chief doorkeeper for the Kentucky House of Representatives. For more see Shadows of the past, by L. Stout; and "William 'Bunny' Davis, Athlete Commissioner," Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/14/2001, Obituaries, p. B2. See also the sound recording interview with William E. "Bunny" Davis in Blacks in Lexington Oral History Project, 1900-1989 at Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
See photo image of William E. "Bunny" Davis at the Great Black Kentuckians website by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights.
Read about the William E. "Bunny" Davis oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Baseball, Basketball, Football, Track & Field
Geographic Region: Perryville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky
Birth Year : 1965
Dermontti Dawson, born in Lexington, KY, is considered one of the greatest centers in the history of professional football. He was an all-state lineman at Bryan Station High School in Lexington and a four-year letterman (1984-1987) at the University of Kentucky, where he played guard. He was a second round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers, spending his entire professional career with the team, 1988-2000. Dawson was inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003. In 2005, he was named to the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees. In 2012, Dermontti Dawson was selected for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He had been a finalist each of the previous three years, and three years prior to that he had been a nominee. He is the second player from Kentucky to be selected for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and joins George Blanda. He is the third player selected from Kentucky. For more see "UK to Retire Dermontti Dawson's Jersey, no. 57," Sports Report, 08/24/2001 at scout.com; "Ex-Cat Dawson voted into Pro Football Hall of Fame - Only second UK player to gain entry," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/05/2012, p.A1.
See photo images of Dermontti Dawson at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Photo Gallery.
Read about the Dermontti Dawson oral history interview available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Birth Year : 1922
Death Year : 1992
Russell Donan was one of the very few African American men from Kentucky to serve on a Navy submarine during WWII. He was an Officer's Cook 1st Class, and served first on the “R-3” and made several war patrols on the “Cobia”. He would be assigned to several other submarines before ending his military career in 1946 on the “Sperry” and on the “Carp”. Donan was born in Edmonton, KY, the son of Mary and James Donan. The family lived on State Street in Bowling Green, KY, in 1930, according to the U. S. Federal Census. Donan was the husband of Mary R. Mayfield, they were married in 1946. Russell Donan was a graduate of Tennessee A&I State University [now Tennessee State University]. He later earned a master's degree. He was an instructor and an assistant football coach at Virginia Union University. This entry was suggested by UK Librarian Shawn Livingston. For more see the "Russell Donan" entry in Black Submariners by G. A. Knoblock.
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Football, Military & Veterans, Migration East
Geographic Region: Edmonton, Metcalfe County, Kentucky / Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky / Virginia
Gaines, Clarence E., Sr. "BigHouse"
Birth Year : 1923
Death Year : 2005
Born in Paducah, KY, Clarence E. Gaines was the salutatorian of his graduating class at Lincoln High School; he went on to graduate from Morgan State University with a chemistry degree. He had been on the basketball, football, and track teams. In 1946 Gaines began coaching football and later coached basketball. In 1967 his Winston-Salem State College [now Winston-Salem State University] team won the NCAA Division II basketball championship, led by Earl "The Pearl" Monroe. It was the first time that a historically Black college had won a national championship. The Clarence Edward "Big House" Gaines, Sr. Collection is housed in the Winston-Salem State University Archives and Manuscripts. He was the son of Lester and Olivia Bolen Gaines. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1992-2006; African-American sports greats: a biographical dictionary, ed. by D. L. Porter; V. Berstein, "Big House Gaines, 81, basketball coach, dies," The New York Times, Sports Desk section, p. 19; and The Legacy of Clarence Edward "Big House" Gaines, Sr., a Digital Forsyth website.
See photo images at the Digital Forsyth website.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Basketball, Football, Track & Field, Migration East, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Birth Year : 1966
Born in Louisville, KY, Carwell Gardner played high school football at Trinity High School in Louisville, where he was a first-team all-state linebacker. He played his college ball first at the University of Kentucky, from 1985 to 1988, where he was the third leading tackler for the 1986-1987 season. After a series of run-ins, disagreements, and an injury, Gardner transferred to the University of Louisville (U of L). He sat out one year before joining the U of L football team as a fullback for the 1989-1990 season, rushing and receiving for 500 yards. Gardner was selected in the second round of the 1990 NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills and ended his professional career with the San Diego Chargers in 1997. He played in 101 total games, rushing for 749 yards. He is the brother of Donnie Gardner. For more see J. Clay, "Defensive end Carwell Gardner leaves UK's football team," Lexington Herald-Leader, 03/22/1988; and Carwell Gardner at the ESPN.com website.
See photo image a stats for Carwell Gardner at the NFL.com website.
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Gardner, Redondo Lee "Donnie"
Birth Year : 1968
Born in Louisville, KY, Gardner played defensive lineman at Trinity High School there; he was considered among the best high school defensive linemen in Kentucky. Gardner played college ball at the University of Kentucky for four seasons before being dismissed from the team his senior year (in 1989). He had been the only true freshman to letter his first year, and in his final season he was second on the team in sacks with four and eighth on the team with 49 tackles. Gardner was taken in the 7th round of the 1990 NFL draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and played for one season. He is the brother of Carwell Gardner. For more see J. Clay, "Claiborne kicks Donnie Gardner off team," Lexington Herald-Leader, 11/14/1989; and Donnie Gardner at the databaseFootball.com website.
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Gilliam, Joe W., Sr.
Birth Year : 1930
Born in Steubenville, Ohio, Joe Gilliam, Sr. attended Indiana University, West Virginia State College [now West Virginia State University], and graduate school at the University of Kentucky. Gilliam, a well-respected football coach, began his coaching career at Oliver High School in Winchester, KY, in 1951. He was awarded the Kentucky High School Football Association's Coach of the Year title. Gilliam left Kentucky to coach at Jackson State College [now Jackson State University] in Mississippi, where his team won a national championship. He then was an assistant coach at Tennessee State University, from 1963-1981, before becoming the head coach. Gilliam's career record, spanning 35 years, is 254-93-15, with five undefeated teams and five teams that lost only one game. In 2007, Joe Gilliam, Sr. was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. He was the father of one of the first African American pro football quarterbacks, Joe Gilliam, Jr. (1950-2000), who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1972. For more see Shadows of the past, by L. Stout; "Joe Gilliam Sr. targets TSU with age bias suit - former football head coach for Tennessee State University," Jet, 02/08/1993; and Coaching the empty backfield offense, by J. W. Gilliam, Sr.
See photo image and additional information at "TSU Coaching Legend Gilliam, Sr. Honored in Roast," 05/29/2012, a TSU Tigers website.
Subjects: Authors, Fathers, Football
Geographic Region: Steubenville, Ohio / Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky / Mississippi / Tennessee
Glover, James M. "Juicy"
Birth Year : 1931
Born in Sawmill Hollow near Cumberland, KY, Glover played high school football at Benham Colored High in Benham, KY. He attended Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] where he was an All-American linebacker, graduating in 1956. He was drafted into the NFL and became its first African American center. Glover returned to Kentucky and became the assistant football coach at Kentucky State University. He was inducted into the school's Athletics Hall of Fame in 1975. For more see Shadows of the Past, by L. Stout; and C. Carlton, "Coal Country Common Bond," Lexington Herald-Leader, 08/31/1997.
Subjects: Football, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Sawmill Hollow, Cumberland County, Kentucky
Hackett, Wilbur, Jr.
Birth Year : 1949
Wilbur Hackett, Jr. is a 1999 Hall of Fame inductee at Manual High School in Louisville, KY, where he was a linebacker and running back on defense. He was considered the best all around football player in the city; in 1966 Hackett was All-State, All-Southern, and Parade Magazine All-American. The 5' 9", 185 pound Hackett went on to become a three year starting linebacker at the University of Kentucky (UK). He was the first African American to start in any sport at UK and in 1969 was the first to be named a team captain. Hackett was also one of the first African American football players in the Southeastern Conference (SEC). He received death threats, and in a game at Ole Miss, armed guards were on hand to protect him and teammate and roommate, Houston Hogg, who was from Owensboro, KY. Hackett was influenced to attend UK by Nat Northington and, Greg Page who would die from a neck injury he received during practice. Cecil New, a white football player at UK, also died from a neck injury the same year as Page. Hackett left UK in 1970. For more see Wilbur Hackett, Jr, Inducted: 1999, at the Manual High School website; "Negro to captain Kentucky football," Washington Post, 08/30/1969, p. D5; "Recalling the death of racial segregation in Southern college football," The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, issue 21, (Autumn 1988), pp. 64-65; M. Story, "They were our Jackie Robinsons - Hackett recalls days as trailblazer at UK of 1960s, a story for every county," Lexington Herald-Leader, 01/28/2007, Sports section, p. C2; and L. Austin, "Courage to play," Kentucky Kernel, 10/04/2010.
See photo image and additional information about Wilbur Hackett, Jr. in article "Former Wildcat remains a football player at heart," page 47 in Kentucky Alumni, vol.81, no.1, Spring 2010.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Football
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Mississippi
Birth Year : 1894
Death Year : 1964
Hall, born in Jellico, KY, lived in Seattle, WA, beginning in 1899. He was a graduate of Broadway High School and was the first African American to play on the school's football team. Hall appeared to be less than 5 feet tall. He was a WWI veteran, stationed at Fort Hancock, Georgia in 1918. After the war, he was employed by the Buffalo Hosiery Company in Seattle, and was later a clerk in the King County Assessor's Office. [Jellico, Kentucky, was adjoined across the state line with Jellico, Tennessee. Joint jurisdiction over the town was held by Kentucky and Tennessee, but today is considered a Tennessee town.] This information about Al Hall comes from the University of Washington Libraries, Digital Collections.
See one of seveal photo images of Al Hall in the Washington Libraries, Digital Collections.
Subjects: Football, Migration West, Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Jellico, Whitley County, Kentucky / Jellico, Tennessee / Seattle, King County, Washington
Hanley, Alvin C., Sr.
Birth Year : 1928
Death Year : 1987
Born in Lexington, KY, Alvin C. Hanley was a graduate of Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University (KSU)] and Indiana University. He played football and basketball at the old Dunbar High School and was an All-American football player at Kentucky State, where he was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in 1975. The Los Angeles Rams [now the St. Louis Rams] drafted him in 1951. He was the first director of the University of Kentucky Minority and Disadvantaged Student Recruitment Program. For more see "KSU Special Student Recruiter, Alvin C. Hanley, Dies at age 59," Lexington Herald-Leader, 12/16/87, Obituaries, p. D6.
See photo image of Alvin C. Hanley at Kentucky Digital Library.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Football
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky
Birth Year : 1966
Born in Owensboro, KY, he is the brother of Kenny Higgs. Mark Higgs was an all-state halfback and the all-time leading rusher on the Owensboro High School football team. The 5'8" Higgs rushed for 6,781 yards and scored 75 touchdowns during his high school career. From 1984-1987 he played college football as a running back at the University of Kentucky, where he was the second leading tackler and rusher, carrying the ball 457 times. His jersey was retired in 1997. Higgs was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the eighth round of the 1988 NFL draft. He played for a number of teams before ending his professional career with the Arizona Cardinals in 1995. In 1991 he was among the league's top ten in rushes and rushing yards and in 1992 was among the top ten in rushing touchdowns. For more see Owensboro High School yearbook, the Owensboroan, available at the Daviess County Public Library; Mark Higgs in Pro-Football-Reference.com; and "CORRECTED VERSION Owensboro sent several football players to the NFL," Owensboro Messenger, 09/21/2004.
Geographic Region: Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky
Hinton, Clarence David
Birth Year : 1916
Death Year : 2008
Clarence D. Hinton was born in Sharpsburg, KY, the son of Davis and Elsie Trumbo Hinton. The family lived on Back Street in 1920, according to the U.S. Federal Census, and later moved to Peoria, IL, where Hinton was an outstanding student and star athlete. He was a graduate of Northwestern University, where he also played football and was later inducted into the school's athletes' hall of fame. He was a member of the football team that won the 1936 Big Ten Conference Championship. Clarence Hinton would become a physician in otolaryngology (ears, nose, throat, head and neck surgery), he was clinical assistant at Howard University Medical School [now Howard University College of Medicine], 1945-1950, where he had received his M.D. in 1942. The Otolaryngology Clinic was relatively new to Howard University. Hinton would became a resident physician at Philadelphia General Hospital in 1950. He was later chair of the otolaryngology division at Howard University Hospital from 1963-1979, and chair of the otolaryngology department at Children's National Medical Center from 1978-1980. He was the first African American to chair the Washington D. C. Medical Society Otolaryngology Section. Hinton retired in 1990 but was still active in medicine at Howard University Hospital. Hinton was a WWII Army veteran, he had served as a medical doctor. He was the husband of ViCurtis Gray Hinton. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950; and "Ear, nose, throat Doctor Clarence David Hinton, 91," The Washington Post, 10/04/2008, Metro section, p.B6.
See photo image of Clarence D. Hinton at the Peoria County Home Page website.
Subjects: Football, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Sharpsburg, Bath County, Kentucky / Peoria, Illinois / Washington, D.C.
Hooper, Ernest Jackson [Oliver School (Winchester, KY)]
Birth Year : 1900
Death Year : 1983
Ernest J. Hooper was a teacher and the sports coach for boys at Oliver School in Winchester, KY. Oliver, in operation from 1892-1956, was a segregated school for African American children. It became a four-year high school in 1928. During Hooper's brief tenure at the school, he established the beginning of champion sports teams for boys; under Hooper's direction, the teams were the 1923 Blue Grass League Champions in football and the 1923-24 Blue Grass League Champions in basketball. Photos of the boys' 1923 football team, the boys' 1922 basketball team, and the girls' 1922 basketball team, are available at the University of Kentucky Audio-Visual Archives, which also includes a typed list of the football and basketball players' names and their positions on the teams. The pictures, along with many others of later sports teams, can be found in Louis Stout's Shadows of the Past. Stout's book also includes the names of the members of the Blue Grass Coaches Association on p. 6. E. J. Hooper was from Philadelphia, PA, the son of Louisa Hooper [source: 1910 U.S. Federal Census] and the grandson of Georgianna Jackson, according to the World War I registration card completed when Hooper was 18 years old. By 1923, Hooper was a teacher in Winchester, KY, and during the Business Session of the KNEA Conference, he gave the address "The Educational Content of an Industrial Subject" [source: Proceedings of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, April 18-21, 1923, p. 11]. In the same issue of the publication, on p. 62, Hooper's home address is given as 127 W. Broadway Street in Winchester. In 1925, Hooper was mentioned in the KNEA Journal [April 22-25, p. 16] as the chair of the Manual Training Section. Also in 1925, the Oliver School basketball team was again champion of the Blue Grass League, when James Nance was the coach. Ernest J. Hooper left Kentucky and in 1928 was a shop teacher at Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, IN [source: Industrial-arts Magazine, vol. 17 (1928), p. 149]. By 1930, Hooper was married and teaching in Peoria [source: U.S. Federal Census]. He was a graduate of Bradley Polytechnic Institute in Illinois [source: Crisis, August 1930, p. 264]. [Bradley Polytechnic Institute would become Bradley University.] Hooper died in October 1983 in Cincinnati, OH [source: Social Security Death Index]. See photo of Coach Hooper and the 1923 football team in the UK libguide titled African American Primary Resources in Special Collections.
See photo image of 1923 Oliver football team in UK libguide African American Primary Resources in Special Collections
See photo image in Explore UK of the girl's basketball team at Oliver School.
See photo image in Explore UK of the boy's basketball team at Oliver School.
Subjects: Basketball, Education and Educators, Football, Military & Veterans, Migration South
Geographic Region: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania / Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana / Peoria, Illinois / Cincinnati, Ohio
Jackson, Dennis M.
Birth Year : 1942
Dennis M. Jackson is from Murray, KY. In 1960 he was the first African American varsity athlete at Murray State University, where he played halfback for the football team and also ran track. His picture was included in the 1963 Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) Track Champions photograph. He was a member of the 440 relay team, which tied an OVC record. Jackson graduated from Murray with his B.A. in physical education in 1965 and later earned his M.A. in secondary education administration. Jackson was not only an outstanding athlete in college; he had also been outstanding at Douglass High School and was inducted into the Kentucky High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2007, he was inducted into the Murray State Athletics Hall of Fame. Jackson was a part-time personnel director of the Paducah public schools; he retired from the school system in 2005. Dennis M. Jackson serves as a member of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, his term will end in 2015. For more see L. L. Wright, "Jackson only wanted to play," Kentucky Post, 01/27/2007, Sports section, p. B7. Additional information provided by Murray State University Library.
See photo image and additional information on Dennis M. Jackson at the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education website.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Education and Educators, Football, Track & Field, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Murray, Calloway County, Kentucky / Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky
Johnson, Arthur L., Jr.
Birth Year : 1914
Death Year : 2005
Arthur Lloyd Johnson, Jr. was the second African American Democrat elected to the Kentucky General Assembly, serving from 1964-1965. He was also first violinist with the Louisville Civic Orchestra and a former vice president of the Mid-Western Tennis Association. He was a high school teacher in Louisville. Johnson is a graduate of the University of Kansas and Hampton Institute [now Hampton University], where he played basketball and football. He was born in Lawrence, KS. For more contact the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission; J. Packett, "Losing in tennis surely spotlights winning attitude, Johnson, nearing 80, gets respect," Richmond Times-Dispatch, 08/10/1994, Sports section, p. E7; and Arthur Lloyd Johnson, Jr. in the obituaries section of the Louisville Courier-Journal, 12/29/2005.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Basketball, Football, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Tennis, Legislators, Kentucky
Geographic Region: Lawrence, Kansas / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Hampton, Virginia
Kean, Henry Arthur, Sr.
Birth Year : 1894
Death Year : 1955
Born in Louisville, KY, the son of Alice and William T. Kean, Henry was the football coach at Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] from 1932 to 1943; the team was four times National Negro champion and Midwestern Athletic Association champion for 10 consecutive years. Kean was a graduate of Fisk University and Indiana University. He was a star athlete in football, basketball, baseball and tennis. He was also a mathematics teacher at Louisville Central High School. In 1943 Kean left Kentucky for Tennessee State College [now Tennessee State University]; that team won five national championships. Kean was the father of Henry A. Kean, Jr., who played forward for the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team. Henry A. Kean was a brother to William L. "Bill" Kean. For more see Kentucky's Black Heritage, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights; In Black and White. A guide to magazine articles, newspaper articles, and books concerning Black individuals and groups, 3rd ed. Supp. Additional information about Kean's time in Kentucky is available at CESKAA, Kentucky State University.
See photo image of classmates, including Henry Arthur Kean, at Simmons University in the 1920s, in the University of Louisville Libraries Digital Collections.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Education and Educators, Football, Migration South
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Nashville, Tennessee
Kean, William L. "Bill"
Birth Year : 1899
Death Year : 1958
While a student at Louisville Central High School, Kean was captain of the football, basketball, and baseball teams. The 5' 7" athlete weighed 140 pounds when he played football at Howard University, where he also earned letters in three other sports. He was one of the school's first 4-letter athletes and in 1922 was named to the Negro All-American Team as a quarterback. As a coach, he directed the Louisville Central football team to a 225-45-12 record. As the basketball coach, he led the Louisville Central Yellow Jackets to wins in 857 of its 940 games. Kean was the son of Alice E. and William T. Kean, and the maternal grandfather of NBA player Allen Houston, and a brother to Henry A. Kean, Sr. For more see The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Baseball, Basketball, Education and Educators, Football, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Kendall, Joseph N.
Birth Year : 1909
Death Year : 1965
Kendall was born in Owensboro, KY. In July 2007, he became the first Kentucky State University inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame, located in South Bend, IN. Kendall was considered one of the greatest passers in college football and a good all around player. He not only played quarterback, but was a running back, punted with both feet, and played on defense. In 1934, he led Kentucky State University to a national black college football championship and an undefeated season. In 1935, he led the team to an Orange Blossom Classic victory. The Pittsburgh Courier named Kendall a First Team All-America three times between 1934-36. He was inducted into the Kentucky State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1975. During Kendall's college football career, Kentucky State had a 29-7-3 record. He was selected for the African American All-Star team that played against the Chicago Bears in 1935; it was the first time that an African American team played against an NFL team. Kendall was also a good baseball and basketball player. He served in the Army for two years, then graduated from Kentucky State in 1938. His original higher education plan had been to attend Paducah to study culinary arts, but once he was seen playing football, he was encouraged to enroll and play for Kentucky State. After college, he was hired to teach and coach at the African American Rosenwald High School in Harlan, KY, and in 1946 became principal of the school. In 1948, he returned to Owensboro to become the football coach at the school he had graduated from, Western High School. The Kendall-Perkins Park in Owensboro is named in honor of Joseph N. Kendall and Joseph Perkins. For more see L. Vance, "College football hall of fame welcomes 3 African-American QBs," at blackathlete.net; S. Hagerman, "One of the finest: Late Western High standout to be inducted into College Football Hall of Fame," Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, 07/16/2007, section C, p.1; and contact CESKAA.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Football, Parks, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Higher Education Before Desegregation, Kentucky
Geographic Region: Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Harlan, Harlan County, Kentucky
Kentucky State College, Integration of Football [Barry Coleman Moore]
Birth Year : 1946
Death Year : 2007
In 1964, Barry C. Moore became the first white player to sign an athletic grant-in-aid to play football at Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University]. Moore was a graduate of Frankfort High School, where he was a star, playing three positions on the football team. At Kentucky State College, Moore played quarterback and halfback. He was the only white player on the team. Ellis Whedbee was the coach. The team played their first game against Fisk University in Nashville. Barry C. Moore graduated from Kentucky State College. He was born in Frankfort, KY, the son of Coleman E. Moore and Margaret Wiley Moore. Barry Coleman Moore died October 2, 2007 in Maryland [source: Social Security Death Index]. For more see "White youth gets grant to Negro college," Jet, June 11, 1964, p. 24; "Integration lease-lend in Kentucky," The Spokesman-Review, 12/21/1964, p. 8; and 'Reverse Play' within the article "Scorecard," in Sports Illustrated, 10/19/1964 [online]. See also NKAA entries for Betty Marie Ellis and Geraldine Cox Ogden, the first white students to apply for admission to Kentucky State College.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Football
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky
Kentucky State University Homecoming, 1952
Start Year : 1952
The November 1, 1952 homecoming game at Kentucky State University (K-State) in Frankfort, KY, was the first interracial football game in the state. K-State's football team, coached by George "Big Bertha" Edwards, had all black members, and its opponent, the Taylor University football team from Upland, Indiana, had all white members. The K-State co-captains were Lorenzo Croft and Grant Dungee. In the second quarter K-State player James "Juicy" Glover scored the first touchdown, Dungee the second. During the second half, Jimmy Taylor scored on an 82-yard run, followed by consecutive touchdowns by Ted Wilson and quarterback Royal Starks. Kickers Gerald Hall and Jodie Concentine added the final points to make the score K-State 39, Taylor University 0. Years later, co-captain Lorenzo Croft donated his football sweater to The Center of Excellence for the Study of Kentucky African Americans (CESKAA). The game was covered in the Louisville Defender newspaper; a copy of the article is available in the K-State Archives clipping series of President R. B. Atwood Papers, Box 36, Folder 2. There was also a brief article in Jet, 11/06/1952, vol. III, issue 2, p. 31.
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Upland, Indiana
Lawson, Daniel C.
Birth Year : 1945
Lawson was born in Louisville, KY. After leaving his position as marketing sales manager at Gulf Oil Co., Lawson was appointed assistant transit administrator for the city of Houston by Houston, Texas, Mayor Fred Hofheinz. He left that post to become the first marketing manager for the Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority. Lawson was later founder and president of Marketing and Sales Unlimited, Inc. and Lawson National Distributing Co. of Houston, Texas. He was also a noted football player at Oklahoma State University. For more see Profiles of Contemporary Black Achievers of Kentucky, by J. B. Horton.
Subjects: Businesses, Football, Migration West
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Houston, Texas
Birth Year : 1943
George Lee, from Dayton, OH, was the first African American football player at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) in 1961. He was a graduate of Roosevelt High School, and one of the five African American athletes brought to EKU by track and football coach Floyd Norman. Roosevelt High School had won the state high school track championship in Ohio and Floyd Norman was the coach. George Lee was a star football player at the school. During Lee's first year at EKU, the football team was on a road trip when Lee was denied entrance to a movie theater because of his race, 40 members of the football team walked out of the theater in protest. George Lee talked about that day during his speech at the 2000 EKU graduation. Information from 1906-2006: A Century of Opportunity, an EKU web page; and A History of Eastern Kentucky Univesity by W. E. Ellis.
Geographic Region: Dayton, Ohio / Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky
Birth Year : 1942
Sherman Lewis was born in Louisville, KY. An All-State halfback on the Louisville Manual High School football team, he also earned letters in basketball and track and field. An All-American in college, he came in third in voting for the Heisman Trophy while playing at Michigan State University, where he also excelled in track and field. Lewis played professional football for a brief period for the Toronto Argonauts and the New York Jets. It was his dream to become a head football coach, but it never happened. For 14 years, Lewis was an assistant football coach at Michigan State (1968-1982). He was an assistant running backs coach with the San Francisco 49ers from 1983 to 1992, during which time the team won three Super Bowls. He was an offensive coordinator with the Green Bay Packers (1992-2000); they also won a Super Bowl during his tenure. Prior to retiring in 2004, Lewis was also part of the coaching staff for Minnesota and Detroit. In 1994, Sherman Lewis was inducted into the Dawhares-Kentucky High School Athletic Association Sports Hall of Fame. In 2001, he was inducted into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame. For more see "Sherman Lewis: All-American halfback & longtime coach," 02/17/2007, at MSUSpartans.com; "Sherman Lewis: former Spartan football and track standout," 09/04/2001, at MSUSpartans.cstv.com; 1994 Dawhares-Kentucky High School Athletic Association Sports Hall of Fame Induction Class at KHSAA.org; and Who's Who Among African Americans, 1990-2006.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Basketball, Football, Track & Field
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / East Lansing, Michigan
Lyles, Lenny E.
Birth Year : 1936
Lenny E. Lyles was born in Nashville, TN, and grew up in Louisville, KY, where he attended Central High School. Lyles became a track star, and a running back and defensive back at the University of Louisville (1953-1957). He holds school football records with 42 touchdowns and 300 points, and he led the nation in 1957 by rushing 1,207 yards. In 1958 he was drafted by the Baltimore Colts [now Indianapolis Colts] in the first round of the NFL draft. He played pro football for 12 years. A life-size bronze statue of Lyles was presented at Cardinal Park in Louisville in October 2000. The statue was created by Louisville sculptor Ed Hamilton. For more see Lenny Lyles in the Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines, vol. 11: Sept. 1976-Aug. 1979; Lenny Lyles at databaseFootball.com; Lenny Lyles Statue; and "Lenny Lyles, blazing a different trail" in Who's Who in Black Louisville, 2nd ed., p.59.
See photo image and additional information about Lenny Lyles at the University of Louisville website.
Subjects: Football, Parks
Geographic Region: Nashville, Tennessee / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Birth Year : 1937
Jim Marshall was born in Danville, KY, and grew up in Ohio, where he was an outstanding football player at East High School in Columbus. He played college ball at Ohio State University. Marshall left college his senior year to play in the Canadian Football League. He was later taken in the fourth round by the Cleveland Browns in the 1960 NFL draft, then traded to the Minnesota Vikings in 1961. Marshall, a defensive end, held the NFL record for playing in the most consecutive games. From 1961-1979 he never missed a game and had more playing time than any other football player in history: Marshall played in all 302 games of his career, including four Super Bowls. He is often remembered for retrieving a fumble and running 66 yards in the wrong direction, October 25, 1964, against the San Francisco 49ers. In spite of the wrong-way incident, Marshall held the record for recovering the most fumbles by opponents - 29. For more see "Vikings beat 49ers despite a long run to the wrong goal," New York Times, 10/26/1964, p. 43; "Jim Marshall in Viking farewell," New York Times, 12/16/1979, p. S5; and Jim Marshall (football player) at the MathDaily website.
See Jim Marshall's Grid Iron Greats interview in 2009 on YouTube.
Subjects: Football, Migration North, Migration West
Geographic Region: Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Columbus, Ohio / Minnesota
Birth Year : 1944
In 1963, the University of Kentucky Athletics Board announced that all sports were open to all, regardless of race, effective immediately. Seventy students showed up for the first day of spring football practice in 1964, and among them was Steve Matthews, a pre-law student at UK, and the only African American in the group. His presence made Matthews the first African American to try-out and participate in the off-season drills of an SEC football team. Matthews was a transfer student from the University of Detroit, where he had tried out for the freshman and varsity teams. He was a sophomore at UK when he tried unsuccessfully to become a fullback on the football team. Matthews was 5' 11" and weighed 200 lbs. For more see "JPS Note" on the bigbluehistory.net website; and "Kentucky has Negro gridder," Post-Herald, 03/26/1964, p. 2.
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky
Birth Year : 1960
Frank Minnifield was born in Lexington, KY. At 5'9" and 140 pounds, he was an outstanding high school football player at Henry Clay High School in Lexington, playing tailback and safety; the team made the playoffs his senior year. It was thought that he was too small to play college football; nonetheless, Minnifield, 40 pounds heavier, was a walk-on his first year with the University of Louisville (KY) football team in 1979, earning scholarships his three remaining years. In 1981, he led the team in punt returns and led the nation as the number one college kick returner with 30.4 yards per return. Minnifield began his pro career in 1982 playing for the Chicago Blitz, a U.S. Football League (USFL) team that would become the Arizona Wranglers. The team was runner-up in the USFL Championship game in 1984. That same year, Minnifield filed suit against the Arizona Wranglers over the Wranglers' attempt to prevent him from playing with the Cleveland Browns, a National Football League (NFL) team. Minnifield signed as a free agent with the Browns in 1984 and retired from the team in 1992. He played in 122 games and was a four time pro bowler (1986-1989) and three time All-NFL choice by the Associated Press. Minnifield was inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998. After retiring from the NFL, he took advantage of years of preparation: having earned a real estate license in 1988 and sold real estate during the off-season, Minnifield returned to Lexington and established Minnifield All-Pro Homes. In 1993, he became the first African American executive elected to the Lexington Chamber of Commerce Board. He was the only African American home builder in Lexington in 2000. In 2011, Frank Minnifield was named chair of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees. For more see Frank Minnifield on the University of Louisville football website; J. Clay, "Minni, Lexington's Frank Minnifield, knew he'd make it as a pro," Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/18/1984; and J. George, "Building for the future ex-NFL star Frank Minnifield wants more blacks in industry," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/12/2000.
See photo image and additional information about Frank Minnifield in article "Frank Minnifield elected chairman of U of L trustees," 09/14/2011, at Kentucky.com [Lexington Herald-Leader].
Subjects: Businesses, Football, Migration North, Migration West, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Arizona / Cleveland, Ohio
Northington, Nathaniel "Nate"
Birth Year : 1948
Nate Northington was born in Louisville, KY. In 1966 he was one of the first two African Americans who signed to play football at the University of Kentucky (UK), where he played under Coach Charlie Bradshaw. In 1967, Northington was the first African American to play in a Southeastern Conference football game. After the death of his roommate and teammate, Greg Page, Northington transferred to Western Kentucky University. For more see B. Reed, "Bradshaw's Style Didn't Change to Suit Times," Lexington Herald Leader, 06/04/99, Sports section, p. C1; and M. Story, "They were our Jackie Robinsons - Hackett recalls days as trailblazer at UK of 1960s, a story for every county," Lexington Herald-Leader, 01/28/2007, Sports section, p. C2. For more on the recruitment of Northington, see the "Ed T. Breathitt" interview transcript at Kentucky Historical Society Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky website. See also Still running: the autobiography of Nate Northington, the first African American football player in the Southeastern Confernce by N. Northington.
See photo image of Nate Northington at Kentucky Digital Library.
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky
Page, Gregory D. "Greg" (football)
Birth Year : 1948
Death Year : 1967
Greg Page was from Middlesboro, KY. In 1966 he was one of the first two African Americans who signed to play football at the University of Kentucky. He was injured during practice and died six weeks later from a paralyzing neck injury; he did not play in any games. The University of Kentucky Greg Page apartments are named in his honor. For more see "Football Player's Legacy Lives On," Kentucky Kernel, 02/06/01.
See photo image of Greg Page's parents being honored on Parent's Night at Commonwealth Stadium.
Geographic Region: Middlesboro, Bell County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky
Paris, William H., Jr. "Bubba"
Birth Year : 1960
William H. Paris,Jr. was born in Louisville, KY, and played football at DeSales High School, where he was team captain and an MVP. At 6'6", 300 pounds, Paris went on to play offensive tackle at the University of Michigan, where he was All-Big Ten, All-American, and All-Academic. He was taken in the second round of the NFL draft and played all but one season of his professional career with the San Francisco 49ers, 1983-1990. In 1991, Paris played for the Indianapolis Colts. During his time with the 49ers, the team won three Super Bowls. He is the father of the former University of Oklahoma basketball players Courtney and Ashley Paris. Bubba Paris, an ordained minister and motivational speaker, lives in California. For more see Bubba Paris, at databaseFootball.com; bubbaparis.org; and Who's Who Among African Americans, 1992-2006.
See photo image of William "Bubba" Paris at the University of Michigan Library website.
Subjects: Businesses, Fathers, Football, Migration West, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / California
Passmore, Norman L., Sr.
Birth Year : 1916
Death Year : 2003
Norman L. Passmore, Sr. was born in Columbus, GA. He was an exceptional student who played quarterback on the Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] football team that won national championships in 1934 and 1937. He graduated from Kentucky State University and the University of Kentucky. He later was the head football coach of the old Lexington Dunbar Bearcats, beginning in 1951 and continuing for 16 years, accumulating a record of 98 wins, 16 losses, and 6 ties while winning three state titles. He also coached for one season at Kentucky State College. He retired as principal of Henry Clay High School in 1984. Passmore was also a pastor and a World War II veteran. For more see M. Davis, "A classic game for a classic educator," Lexington Herald-Leader, section C, l8/29/04; and J. Hewlett, "Long time educator dies at 87 - N. L. Passmore Sr. taught at Dunbar," Lexington Herald-Leader, 03/19/2003, City&Region section, p. B1. See also the sound recording interview of Norman Passmore in the Blacks in Lexington Oral History Project, 1900-1980 at Special Collections, University of Kentucky.
Read about the Norman L. Passmore, Sr. oral history interview available in the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Football, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Columbus, Georgia / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky
Phillips, Joseph "Joker"
Birth Year : 1963
Joker Phillips became the first African American head football coach at the University of Kentucky, January 6, 2010. Phillips, a Kentucky native, was born in Franklin, where he became an outstanding football player at Franklin-Simpson High School. He was quarterback on two of the school's 3A championship teams. He next attended the University of Kentucky where he was a wide receiver on the football team, 1981-1984. Phillips caught 75 passes for 935 yards and nine touchdowns. He played two seasons in the NFL with the Washington Redskins, and one season with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL. After his professional football career, Phillips was an assistant for several college football teams and returned to Kentucky in 2004 as the offensive coordinator under Rich Brooks. In 2010, Phillips was one of three African American head football coaches hired at Kentucky universities: Charlie Strong at the University of Louisville, and Willie Taggart at Western Kentucky University. November 4, 2012, after a three year record of 12-23, UK Athletic director Mitch Barnhart announced in an open letter (on football website) that Phillips would be dismissed at the end of the season. Phillips was hired by the University of Florida as the receivers coach and recruiting coordinator for the Gators' football team [source: C. Low, "Gators strengthen staff with Joker Phillips," 12/03/2012, online at ESPN] . For more see B. W. Jones, "The Joker Phillips Timeline," Kentucky Kernel, 01/06/2010; "States hiring of Black coaches is very impressive," Daily News (Bowling Green, KY), 01/15/2010, Opinions section; C. Westerhaus, "Minority coaching ranks on the rise," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 01/13/2010, Opinion section, p.A15; M. Story, "For those who came before - UK football's Black pioneers appreciate Phillip's ascension," Lexington Herald-Leader, 01/10/2010, Sports section, p.C2; and the 2010 interview "Coach Joker Phillips," program #533 [available online] on Connections With Renee Shaw at Kentucky Educational Televisions (KET).
Geographic Region: Franklin, Simpson County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky
Birth Year : 1943
Harold Poole was born in Louisville, KY. He attended Shortridge High School in Indiana, where he was the starting quarterback on the football team and a star athlete on the track and wrestling teams. Poole was 19 years old when he won the Mr. Universe competition. The next year he was the first African American to win the Mr. America competition. He was the youngest contender in the inaugural Mr. Olympia competition in 1965, and is the only person to have competed in the first three Mr. Olympia competitions. He has won a number of bodybuilding awards. Poole retired from competition in 1992. For more see 2004 IFBB Hall of Fame Inductees; and J. Roark, "Featuring 2004 Hall of Fame Inductee: Harold Poole," Flex, November 2004.
See photo image at Harold Poole.com
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Body Building, Football, Track & Field, Wrestling, Wrestlers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Indiana
Reed, William B. "Chief"
Birth Year : 1912
Death Year : 1996
William B. Reed was born in Paris, KY. He was the last principal of the segregated Western School for Negroes. The Paris City Schools were fully integrated in 1966 and Reed would become the first African American Assistant Principal in the Paris City School system. He was also the first to become a city commissioner in Paris. He had been a star football and basketball player at Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] and he coached the Western High basketball team to a national championship in 1953. Reed was also the school's football coach. He was the first African American elected to the Paris City Council in 1977. The William "Chief" Reed Park in Paris is named in his honor. For more see "William Reed, Retired Educator, Coach, Dies," Lexington Herald-Leader, Obituaries, 10/11/96; and "Mayor, 45 councilmen are black city officials," in 1978 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Fifth Report, by the Commission on Human Rights, p. 22.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Basketball, Education and Educators, Football, Parks, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky
Roach, Sanford Thomas
Birth Year : 1916
Death Year : 2010
Born in Frankfort, KY, Sanford T. Roach played basketball and football as a student and was also the 1933 high school class salutatorian when he graduated from Bate High School in Danville, KY. Roach was a 1937 graduate of Kentucky State University and taught for one year and served as a guard at Kentucky Village with the Kentucky Houses of Reform, schools for delinquent children. He started teaching general science at Bate High School in 1938 and was also the basketball coach; he achieved a record of 98-24 while coaching at Bate High School. In 1941, Roach became a teacher and basketball coach at Lexington Dunbar High School, he coached the Dunbar Bearcats to a 512-142 record over a 22 year period. He later became the first African American principal at an integrated elementary school in Lexington, KY, at Carver School in 1965, and was the first African American board member of the University of Kentucky Athletic Association. For more see Transition Game, by B. Reed; Sanford Roach Biography, a HistoryMaker website; and "Legacy knows no bounds," Lexington Herald-Leader, 09/01/2010, pp. 1, A2, and A8 [two articles - M. Fields, M. Davis].
Read about the Sanford T. Roach oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records are in the SPOKE Database.
Listen to the audio and read the transcript of the Sanford T. Roach interview in the Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky, Oral History Project, at the Kentucky Historical Society.
Subjects: Baseball, Basketball, Education and Educators, Football, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky
Shadows of the Past by Louis Stout
Start Year : 2006
This 2006 publication by Louis Stout is the first of its kind, an historical overview of the Kentucky High School Athletic League (KHSAL) that covers the administrators, schools, coaches, and athletes that participated in the development of the association. KHSAL was formed in 1932 as an interscholastic athletics organization for the Negro schools of Kentucky. There were 69 member schools, and KHSAL remained active until 1958 when Kentucky schools and athletic associations began to desegregate. Basketball and football were recognized by KHSAL, though many of the schools had other sporting events such as boxing and track and field. Fifty-two schools are highlighted in the book, with photographs and a brief history of the schools, teams, and coaches. A fair portion of the history and the photographs deal with the basketball teams.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Basketball, Boxers, Boxing, Football, Track & Field, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Kentucky
Simmons, Lawrence "Bumpy"
In 1952, Simmons became the first African American athlete at the University of Louisville (U of L). Simmons had lettered as a football player at Central High School in Louisville, KY. He was recruited by U of L and participated in spring practice, played in the season opener, then left the school. For more see the Commerce Cabinet Press release by Billy Reed dated 02/21/05, "Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch Represents Pinnacle of Proud African-American Athletic Tradition at U of L: Cards a Leader in Integrating Southern Sports."
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Birth Year : 1896
Death Year : 1970
Kentucky native Holloway Smith was the second African American football player at Iowa State. The first African American player was Jack Trice, who died in 1923 from injuries received during a football game; Iowa State football stadium is named in his honor. Holloway Smith arrived at Iowa State three years after Jack Trice died. Smith had played one year of football at Michigan State and the following year he became a right tackle on the Iowa team while working toward his bachelor's degree in agricultural education. Smith was an all-state lineman; he stood 6'4" and weighed around 220 pounds. He dominated on the football field, but that was not enough to surpass the Missouri Valley Conference agreement with southern opponents to not use colored players in their competitions. The black press referred to it as the "gentlemen's agreement" [source: F. M. Davis, "World of sports," Capital Plaindealer, 12/13/1936, p. 7; note Smith's name is misspelled as "Hollingsworth"]. In 1926 that agreement kept Holloway Smith out of three games. In 1927, he was only barred from the Missouri game, in spite of which, Smith had a good season and was named 3rd Team All-Missouri Conference. After graduating from Iowa State in 1928, Holloway Smith was a school teacher in Marianna, AR. He was a boarder at the home of Henry and Anna Baker, according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census. In 1935, he had lived in Louisville, KY, according to the 1940 U.S. Federal Census. By 1936, Holloway Smith was still a teacher when the African American newspapers proclaimed him the last Negro football player in the Big Six Conference with Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Nebraska. Holloway Smith had moved on from his football days. While in Pine Bluff, AR in 1940, he was a teacher and he was also a National Youth Administration (NYA) worker, according to the 1940 U.S. Federal Census, and he would become the state NYA supervisor. Holloway, his wife, and his sister Bettie Smith, lived at 2020 Reeker Street in Pine Bluff. Holloway Smith left Arkansas in the 1940s. He served as a temporary member of the YMCA U.S.O. Club on 3rd Street in Pittsburg, CA, in 1945, according to the USO-Staff Conference minutes dated June 11, 1945. At the U.S.O., Holloway was standing-in for Maurice Hardeman, who was attending an orientation course in New York. [The USO-Staff Conference minutes are within the National Jewish Welfare Board War Correspondence. National Jewish Welfare Board, Army-Navy Division Records, I-180, at the American Jewish Historical Society.] By 1951, Holloway Smith was living in Monterey, California, according to Polk's Monterey Pacific Grove City Directory, 1951, p. 430; he operated Ella's Southern Kitchen Restaurant. He is last listed as a cook in the 1957 Monterey city directory. Holloway Smith last moved to Reno, Nevada, where he died in January of 1970, according to the U.S. Social Security Death Index. Holloway Smith was born in Spottsville, KY, November 19, 1896, according to his WWI Draft Registration Card completed in Henderson, KY. He was the son of James and Harriett Smith, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. He had been the husband of Eunice Smith who was born around 1902 in Jackson, Mississippi, according to the 1940 U.S. Federal Census. For more information see Black History Month: Holloway Smith; After Trice, an Iowa State website; and "Holloway Smith" in Nevada State Journal, 01/22/1970, p.39.
See photo image of Holloway Smith at Iowa State website.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Football, Migration North, Migration West, Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Spottsville, Henderson County, Kentucky / Detroit, Michigan / Ames, Iowa / Marianna and Pine Bluff, Arkansas / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Pittsburg and Monterey, California / Reno, Nevada
Strong, Charlie R.
Birth Year : 1960
Charlie Strong became the second African American head football coach at the University of Louisville, December 9, 2009. Strong, born in Batesville, Arkansas, played football at the University of Central Arkansas, where he lettered all four years, 1980-1984. Strong is also a graduate of the University of Florida where he earned his master's degree in education. He has more than 25 years experience coaching at the college level. He was an assistant at a number of colleges, and while at the University of South Carolina in 1999, became the first African American coordinator in the Southeastern Conference. In 2010, Strong was one of three African American head football coaches hired at Kentucky universities: Joker Phillips at the University of Kentucky, and Willie Taggart at Western Kentucky University. In January 2014, Charlie Strong left the University of Louisville to become the head football coach at the University of Texas where he is the first African American head coach of any sport at the school. For more see "Strong to be named U of L football coach," CBS - 32 WLKY: Video (Louisville, KY), 12/09/2009; J. Fowler, "Cards go Strong - Louisville offers job to UF defensive coordinator," The Orlando Sentinel, 12/09/09, Sports section, p.C1; and the 2010 interview "Coach Charlie Strong," program #531 at Connections With Renee Shaw on Kentucky Educational Television (KET).
See "U of L Football Coach Charlie Strong" on YouTube.
Geographic Region: Batesville, Arkansas / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Birth Year : 1975
Willie Taggart, from Palmetto, FL, became the first African American head football coach at Western Kentucky University (WKU) on November 23, 2009. He had been an assistant coach at the school from 1999-2006, and had also been a student athlete, setting 11 school records as quarterback of the football team 1995-1998. Taggart graduated in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in social science. His WKU football jersey was retired in 1999. Taggart was also an outstanding high school quarterback at Manatee High School in Florida. During his sophomore year, Taggart, at 5 foot-11 inches and 138 pounds, replaced the team's injured All-American quarterback and lead the team to a 44-0 victory. The Manatee High School football team was the 5A Champions during Taggart's junior year as quarterback, and the team played in the championship game his senior year when Taggart was named first team all-state and all-conference. In 2010, Taggart was one of three African American head football coaches hired at Kentucky universities: Joker Phillips at the University of Kentucky, and Charlie Strong at the University of Louisville. In 2012, Taggart left Western Kentucky University to become head football coach at the University of South Florida [source: ESPN NCAAF, 12/08/2012]. For more see "WKU hires Willie Taggart as head football coach," ABC - 13 WBKO: Video, 11/24/2009; Willie Taggart, a WKU website; W. Hiatt, "Manatee crushes Brandon," The Bradenton Herald, 10/05/1991, Sports section, p.C1; and the 2010 interview "Coach Willie Taggart," program #532 [available online] at Connections With Renee Shaw on Kentucky Educational Television (KET).
Geographic Region: Palmetto, Florida / Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky
Tinsley, Lee O.
Birth Year : 1969
Lee O. Tinsley was born in Shelbyville, KY, where he was an outstanding football and baseball player. By the end of his senior year, the 5'10" Tinsley had accumulated 969 yards on 105 carries as an option quarterback. In baseball, he batted .569, hit 14 home runs, and stole 21 bases. He graduated from high school in 1987 and was torn between professional baseball or college football at Purdue University. Tinsley decided on baseball and played professionally for 14 seasons; he was selected in the first round of the 1987 June draft by the Oakland Athletics and ended his career in 2000 having played in the Mexican League and the Independent Western League. Today, Tinsley is the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team's minor league outfield and first base coordinator. He and his family live in Scottsdale, AZ. For more see "A's draftee ponders Purdue," Detroit Free Press, 06/04/1987, SPT section, p. 5D (the article has the incorrect height for Tinsley); Lee Tinsley, at the Arizona Diamondbacks' website; Who's Who Among African Americans, 1994-2000; and Lee Owen Tinsley at baseball-reference.com.
See photo image of Lee O. Tinsley at Arizona Diamondbacks' website.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Baseball, Football, Migration West
Geographic Region: Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky / Scottsdale, Arizona
Way, James Sherman
Birth Year : 1923
Death Year : 2005
Way was born in Cynthiana, KY, the son of James and Elizabeth Lydick Way. In 1967, James Sherman Way became the first African American faculty member at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU); he was a professor of industrial technology. His children, James, Jannette, William, and Melissa, were the first African American children enrolled in the EKU Model School. Way was a graduate of Central State University and Eastern Kentucky University. He was also an athlete: he played baseball for the Lexington Hustlers and was named to the Harrison County Football Hall of Fame. For more see "James Sherman Way 1923-2005 became first black member of EKU faculty, Cynthiana native was professor of industrial technology," Lexington Herald-Leader, 12/15/2005, City&Region section, p. C3; and the James Way and Mrs. Anna Williams Way interviews in the Eastern Kentucky University Library.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Baseball, Education and Educators, Football, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Cynthiana, Harrison County, Kentucky / Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky
White, Paul Dunbar
Birth Year : 1917
Death Year : 1997
White, a minister, was born in LaGrange, KY, the son of Reverend Isham H. White and Florence Harris White. In 1963, Paul D. White was the first African American judge elected [never appointed] to the Cleveland Municipal Court. He also served as Director of Law in Cleveland when he was hired in 1967 by Carl B. Stokes, the first African American mayor of a major city in the U.S. In 1968, White became the first African American lawyer in a major Cleveland firm, Baker & Hostetler, and was made partner in 1970. The firm established the Paul D. White Scholarship in 1997. Paul D. White was a 1940 graduate of Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University], where he played on the championship football team as a fullback, then later played professionally for one season in Indianapolis. White was also a 1950 graduate of Western Reserve Law School [now Case Western Reserve University, School of Law] and following his graduation, was hired by Kentucky native and Cleveland attorney Jean Capers. For more see The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History [online], sponsored by Case Western Reserve University and the Western Reserve Historical Society; and the The Plain Dealer articles - - R. M. Peery, "Paul Dunbar White, 79, Judge, City Law Director," 09/26/1997, Obituaries, p. 11B, and P. Morris, "The judge inspired, but he never knew," 09/30/1997, Editorials & Forum section, p. 9B.
Subjects: Football, Lawyers, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Religion & Church Work, Judges
Geographic Region: La Grange, Oldham County, Kentucky / Cleveland, Ohio
Birth Year : 1930
Death Year : 2006
Kermit Williams attended Mayo-Underwood, an all African American school in Frankfort, Kentucky. School integration in 1956 allowed Williams and a few other African American students to transfer to Frankfort High School. In Williams' sophomore year he became the first African American to play football at the school, playing halfback as well as defensive back. In 2006, Williams was inducted into the school's Football Hall of Fame. One of the obstacles Williams faced as a football player was a stipulation in the will of John R. Sower, who had donated the land where the football field was located: Sower's will stipulated that the athletic field was to be used by whites only, but the coach allowed Williams to play anyway. Before one game, crosses were burned near the football field, yet Williams went onto the field and scored two touchdowns, giving Frankfort High the win. The night was covered by Life magazine. Williams continued to play football throughout his high school years and was also outstanding in basketball and track. For more see "The Enlightened One," The State Journal, 08/23/2006; and J. Sergent, "Coming of Age: how a product of the segregated South became an advocate for change," Vanderbilt Magazine, Fall 2002, pp. 68-69 & 86.
Subjects: Football, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky