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Armstead, James, Jr. "Jimmie"
Birth Year : 1919
Death Year : 2006
Said to be born in Louisville, KY, James Armstead, Jr. was a graduate of Louisville Central High School in 1936; he also attended Louisville Municipal College for Negroes. He was a tailback on the Municipal College football team and a starting guard on the basketball team. While still a student, during the summers of 1938 and 1939, he played baseball with the Indianapolis ABCs, a Negro League team. Armstead played baseball full-time in the Negro League from 1940-1951, playing for a number of teams before and after his stint with the military during World War II, including playing first base for the Philadelphia Stars in 1949. He joined the U.S Air Force and trained as a pilot at the Tuskegee Army Airfield in Alabama. According to the U.S. Social Security Death Index, James R. Armstead was born September 8, 1919, and died in Louisville, KY on November 9, 2006. He is buried in Cave Hill Cemetery. He was the son of James Sr. and Ada Armstead, and the husband of Edna Earl Reeden Armstead. [James Armstead Sr. and Ada Armstead were born in Alabama. Though Louisville was given as his birth location in the obituary, other sources gives James Armstead, Jr.'s birth location as Alabama.] For more information see B. Brainstaff, "Buck stops here - and is a hit," Courier-Journal, 03/24/2004, Sports section, p. 1E; "James Armstead, Jr." in the obituaries on of the Courier-Journal, 11/14/2006; and Jimmie Armstead at Negro Leagues Baseball eMuseum.

Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Baseball
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Alabama

Bibbs, Junius A.
Birth Year : 1910
Death Year : 1980
Junius Bibbs was born in Henderson, KY. He attended high school in Terre Haute, Indiana, and college at Indiana State University, where he was a star football and baseball player. As a baseball player in the Negro Leagues, where he was also known as Rainey and Sonny, he played shortstop and first, second, and third base; his career began in 1933 with the Detroit Stars and finished in 1944 with the Cleveland Buckeyes. Bibbs was a good line-drive hitter, hitting to all fields; in 1936, he hit .404. Bibbs joined the Kansas City Monarchs in 1938, and the team went on to win three Negro American League pennants, 1939-1941. After his baseball career, Bibbs taught and coached at Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 1998, Bibbs was inducted into the Indiana State University Hall of Fame.  For more see The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, by J. A. Riley.

Additional information provided by Rebecca Bibbs 11/16/2012: Junius Bibbs was a football star at Indiana State Teachers College [now Indiana State University] in 1935 and was thought to be the only African American playing football at the collegiate level in the state of Indiana. In 2011, Junius Bibbs was inducted into the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame. See R. Rose article "Indiana Hall of Famer Junius Bibbs put education first," Indianapolis Recorder, 07/21/2011 [online]. Junius Bibbs was the son of Lloyd and Catherine Carr Bibbs, and the grandson of Maria Carr.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Baseball, Education and Educators, Migration North
Geographic Region: Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky / Terre Haute, Indiana / Indianapolis, Indiana

Brock, James "Jim"
James Brock was the second head basketball coach at William Grant High School (WGHS) in Covington, KY, coaching there from 1955 to 1965. Like other African American school teams in Kentucky, WGHS was a member of the Kentucky High School Athletic League (KHSAL). The counter league, Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA), was for whites only until school integration began in the mid-1950s. The 1956-1957 WGHS team was the first African American basketball team to win a district tournament in the KHSAA tournament. As more African American students were allowed to attend the formerly all white schools, there was an impact on the pool of high school athletes that had been restricted to the all black schools. In 1965, the year that William Grant High School closed, the basketball team won only five games. The season was a far cry from the winning seasons that had garnered the school a win-loss record of 185-69 during Brock's years as head coach. With the closing of William Grant, Brock moved on to Cincinnati, where he continued to successfully coach high school sports. James Brock was inducted into the Northern Kentucky Black Hall of Fame and the KHSAA Hall of Fame in 2000. For more see Shadows of the past, by L. Stout; J. Reis, "Many tried, few defeated William Grant in '50s, '60s," The Cincinnati Post, 02/23/1998, Editorial section, p. 4K; and Dawahares/KHSAA Hall of Fame class of 2000 inductees announced, 06/21/1999, at the KHSAA website.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Basketball, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Brooks, Corrinne Mudd
Birth Year : 1914
Death Year : 2008
Brooks organized the first African American girl scout troop in Fort Wayne, IN. The history of African American girl scout units has not been thoroughly researched, and it is not known how many units existed in the U.S. Up to the 1950s, girl scouts were segregated by race. In the state of Indiana, the first girl scouts were formed in New Albany in 1919; the organization became a council in 1923. Brooks was an active member of the Limberlost Girl Scout Council as well as the Urban League, the Commission on the Status of Women for the State of Indiana, and the YWCA. She was also the comptroller at the YWCA. Corrinne Brooks was the wife of James W. Brooks. She was born in Louisville, KY, the daughter of Loretta Douglas Mudd (1897-1928), who was born in Fort Wayne, and James Mudd (1881-1968), who was born in Springfield, KY. The family moved from Kentucky to Fort Wayne in 1915 and lived on Wallace Street, according to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census. When Loretta Mudd died, Corrinne became the mother of the household; she was the oldest of her six siblings. She was also an athlete, the first girl in her high school to receive a sweater for her participation in basketball and soccer. She graduated from Central High School in 1933. She won the Civic Men's Scholarship, which was used for her courses at Indiana University Extension, located in downtown Fort Wayne. Brooks took a turn at politics: an unsuccessful candidate for the Indiana House of Representative in 1954 and 1956, she went on to become a coordinator for the Indiana voter registration drive in preparation for the 1960 presidential election, helping to register over 43,000 voters; Senator John F. Kennedy invited her to a National Conference on Constitutional Rights and American Freedom in New York. She was also founder of the Martin Luther King Living Memorial. For more on Corrinne Brooks, see her entry in The Black Women in the Middle West Project, by D. C. Hine, et al.; and "Corrinne Brooks always active in helping others," The Journal Gazette, 02/06/1996, People section. A picture of Corrine Brooks is on p. 120 in Ebony, 09/1983 [available in Google Book Search]. For more on the girl scouts see the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana website; and for a more detailed accounting of African American girl scout history, see the "Josephine Groves Holloway" entry in Notable Black American Women, by J. C. Smith.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Athletes, Athletics, Civic Leaders, Scouts (Boys and Girls), Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Women's Groups and Organizations, YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Fort Wayne, Indiana / Springfield, Washington County, Kentucky

Brown, John W. "Scoop"
Birth Year : 1922
Death Year : 2002
John W. Brown was born in Lexington, KY. He attended the (old) Dunbar School in Lexington, where he was an outstanding football player as a kicker and receiver, as well as a star basketball player. Brown got his nickname when he played first base for the Lexington Hustlers. He also coached the team for nearly 50 years. Brown was also an official of baseball, basketball, and football in Kentucky and was the first African American official in the men's NAIA national tournament. In 1994, John W. Brown was inducted into the Dawahares/KHSAA Hall of Fame. For more see M. Fields, "19 State sports figures join high school hall of fame," Lexington Herald-Leader, 03/23/1994, Sports section, p. C5; and M. Story, "Brown's legacy lives with kids - local athlete did best work for city's black children," Lexington Herald-Leader, 07/07/2002, Sports section, p. C2.

Access Interview Read about the John Will "Scoop" Brown 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
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Browne, Birdius W.
Birth Year : 1906
Death Year : 1986
Birdius Browne was born in Warsaw, KY. He taught in the Mt. Olivet School and was principal of the Melbourne High and Vocational School in Florida. Brown won a government medal in Decatur, Illinois, for his athletic ability. He died in Paducah, KY. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1933-37.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Education and Educators, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Warsaw, Gallatin County, Kentucky / Mt. Olivet, Robertson County, Kentucky / Florida / Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Burse, Raymond M.
Birth Year : 1951
Raymond Malcolm 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. He was vice president and general counsel at GE Consumer and Industrial. In 2014, Raymond M. Burse returned to Kentucky State University to serve as interim president. 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. See also the Office of the President Records, a Kentucky Digital Library webpage.



  See photo image and additional information about Raymond Malcolm Burse at Lexington Herald-Leader webpage: M. Davis, "KSU interim head gives chunk of salary to help workers - $90,000 will go to raising minimum wage," 08/02/2014, p.A7.


Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Education and Educators, Football, Lawyers, Track & Field, Rugby
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Carr, Fletcher
Birth Year : 1950
Fletcher Carr, a native of Erie, PA, was the first African American, full-time head coach at the University of Kentucky (UK). He was also one of the first African American head wrestling coaches at the college level in the U.S. In 1973, Carr had been hired as an assistant football coach at UK and continued in that capacity, and also became the head wrestling coach in 1973 after starting the UK wrestling program. He did both coaching jobs until 1976, after UK won the Peach Bowl, then Fletcher Carr became dedicated solely to wrestling. He recruited his brothers Joe Carr and Jimmy Carr to the UK wrestling team. During Fletcher Carr's tenure, the UK wrestling team won two SEC Championships (1976 & 1977), was runners-up in 1980, and Fletcher Carr was twice named SEC Coach of the Year. The first SEC Championship was won in 1976, the UK team defeated Florida 89-82 1/2. The top performers were Kurt Mock, Tim Mousetis, and Joe Carr. Coach Fletcher Carr had also been a champion wrestler when he was a student at the University of Tampa. He was All-American and NCAA College Division Wrestling Champion in 1971 and 1972.  He was a two time Division II National Champion in 1972 and 1973. His college career record was 73 wins and the 1 loss that occurred during his senior year. He had 69 pins and set the record at the University of Tampa for the fastest pin at 0:25. In addition to playing football and wrestling at the University of Tampa, Fletcher Carr was the 1973 Southeastern Karate Champion. When he was a high school student at East High in Erie, PA, Fletcher Carr was All-City in football, earned four letters in track, and was the Erie City Wrestling Champion. He chose to attend college in Florida, and Fletcher Carr graduated from the University of Tampa in 1973. I was during the earlier part of 1973, that UK head football coach, Fran Curci, recruited Fletcher Carr to become an assistant football coach at UK [source: "Star gets coach post before finishing college," Jet, March 29, 1973, p.53]. Fletcher Carr was a former player for Coach Curci when he was head football coach at the University of Tampa from 1968-1970. Fran Curci was also a native of Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh) and had played both high school and college football in Florida. He was head football coach at UK from 1973 to 1981 which was the end of his college coaching career. Fletcher Carr left UK in 1983, which was the same year that he was inducted into the Tampa Spartans Hall of Fame. In 2016, Fletcher Carr was selected as an inductee to the Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame, Class of 2017. For more about Fletcher Carr's personal career see his entry at the Tampa Spartans Hall of Fame website.  See also Fletcher Carr in Fifty Years of the University of Kentucky African-American Legacy, 1949-1999; 100 Pioneers: African-Americans Who Broke Color Barriers in Sport by R. E. Lapchick; "Black Head Coaches: taking charge on major campuses," Ebony, May 1982, pp.59-62 [online at Google Books]; NCAA Official ... national collegiate championships records, 2000; Black Sports, v.2, 1972, p.44; and "Title IX eliminates an eleven year program and leaves the wrestling team pinned in a hold they can't escape," 1983 Kentuckian, pp.273-274 [online at Explore UK]. This entry was updated at the request of Fletcher Carr via phone interviews in November of 2016.


  See images of Fletcher Carr and the UK Wrestling Team 1973-1983, and find more information and records in Explore UK.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Football, Migration North, Track & Field, Wrestling, Wrestlers, Martial Arts
Geographic Region: Erie, Pennsylvania / Tampa, Florida / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Churchill, Leroy O.
Birth Year : 1918
Death Year : 1987
Leroy O. Churchill was the first African American guard at the Bridewell Prison in Chicago, IL, and he was also the first to become a captain. Churchill was head of the 1st division of the west cell-house, where he supervised eight guards and 445 inmates of whom 40% were African Americans. Churchill reported directly to Warden Fred K. Hoehler. "Bridewell" is an English term from the 1500s for "jail" or "house of corrections." The earliest Bridewell Prison was located in London, England [info]. Bridewell, the city jail of Chicago, was built in 1852 as a short-term facility for offenders of minor crimes. In 1959, when it held 1,700 prisoners, Leroy O. Churchill was one of the six captains at the facility. Churchill was born in Paducah, KY, the son of Roscoe Conkling Churchill and Elizabeth B. Churchill, a hairdresser. The family moved to Chicago in 1920, then returned to Paducah after Roscoe Churchill died. The Churchill family had been in Paducah for several generations; family members are listed in the 1914-1915 Caron's Paducah City Directory as living at 1036 Washington Street; the residents included Ora; Marshall Sr. (1866-1911); Emma (b. 1867); Loyd (b.1889); Roscoe (b. 1885); and Sherman Churchill (1887-1927). When the family moved back to Kentucky, Leroy attended Lincoln High School, where he excelled in football, basketball, track, and boxing. He was awarded an athletics scholarship to attend West Kentucky Industrial College [now West Kentucky Community and Technical College] where he was an outstanding football player. After his graduation, Leroy Churchill returned to Chicago, and in 1948 successfully completed the civil service exam, ranking second, and was appointed a guard at Bridewell Prison. He received the rank of captain in 1951. Leroy O. Churchill was the husband of Mary Hopkins Churchill, a beautician; the couple had two sons. For more see R. Ottley, "Negro guard captain aids his charges in Bridewell," Chicago Daily Tribune, 03/14/1959, p. W Part 5 - p. 12F; the Cook County Jail History website; and see photo image of Bridewell Prison at Encyclopedia of Chicago [online].

Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Cosmetologists, Beauty Shops, Hairdressers, Beauty Supplies, Migration North, Corrections and Police
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Clark, Elmer S., Jr.
Birth Year : 1929
Death Year : 2016
Elmer S. Clark, Jr. was 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; 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.


Elmer S. Clark, Jr. died April 10, 2016 and is buried at Cedar Park Cemetery in Chicago, IL [source: Celebrating the Life of Elmer S. Clark, Jr., funeral program provided by Gregory A. Clark, Ed. D.].

Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Basketball, Boxers, Boxing, Education and Educators, Football, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, Betting, & The Derby, Migration North, Track & Field
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

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.

Access Interview 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

Doneghy, Dudley
Birth Year : 1894
Death Year : 1962
The following information was submitted by Marjorie Duncan Doneghy Willis:

In 1998, Dudley Doneghy was inducted into the Centre College Athletic Hall of Fame. He served as the school's athletic trainer and equipment manager for more than 40 years, beginning in the 1920s.

Additional information:
Dudley Doneghy was born in Parksville, KY, the son of Mollie and Edward Doneghy [source: 1900 U.S. Federal Census and Dudley Doneghy's World War I Draft Registration Card]. Edward was a carpenter. His son Dudley was a World War I veteran, and prior to enlisting in the Army, he was a porter at Curry's Drug Store in Danville, KY. During his tenure at Centre College, Dudley Doneghy was listed in the Blue Book of College Athletics as a colored trainer [1958, p. 95]. He was the husband of Mattie E. Doneghy [source: Polk's Danville (Boyle County, Kentucky) City Directory, 1945, p. 43].
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Parksville and Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky

Elster, Jesse
Birth Year : 1883
Death Year : 1950
Jesse Elster was a prominent baseball player and manager of the Grand Rapids Colored Athletics Team. He was born in Kentucky and moved to Grand Rapids in 1904. In 1914, Elster and Stanley Barnett formed the Colored Athletic Businesses Association (CABA). The organization supported the baseball team. Elster was still team manager in 1949 when the last articles about the team appeared in Michigan newspapers. Jesse was the husband of Mamie E. Bellis Elster (b.1887 in MO - died 1920), and he later married Emma V. Young, b.1883 in VA. The family of five is listed in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, and they lived at 439 James Avenue in Grand Rapids, according to Polk's Grand Rapids (Kent County, Mich) City Directory. Jess Elster and his son Russell were truck drivers for a furniture shop. His son Eugene was a shoe shiner. Elster's first name has been spelled different ways, he signed as "Jesse Elster" on his WWI draft registration card. For more see African Americans in the Furniture City by R. M. Jelks; The Negro Leagues Revisited by B. P. Kelley; and "Face Muskegon Club Sunday," Record-Eagle, 07/01/1949, p.15.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Baseball, Businesses, Migration North, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Grand Rapids, Michigan

Exum, William
Birth Year : 1910
Death Year : 1988
William Exum, born in Illinois, was the first African American varsity football player at the University of Wisconsin. He was both an outstanding track star and student at Wisconsin, completing his bachelor's, master's, and doctorate. His father's family had originally come from Mississippi and Tennessee, and his maternal grandmother was from Kentucky, according to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census. William Exum's family settled in Gary, Indiana; after he graduated from high school, he left Indiana to attend school in Wisconsin. In 1949 Exum was hired as head of the Kentucky State University (KSU) Physical Education Department and later was made head of the Athletics Department, sometimes coaching various sports teams. In 1964 he coached the KSU men's cross country team to an NCAA Division II championship. He was the manager of the United States Track and Field teams at the 1972 and 1976 Olympics. In 1978 the National Association of College Directors of Athletics inducted him into the Hall of Fame. Exum retired from KSU in 1980. The William Exum Athletic Center at KSU was named in his honor in 1994. William Exum was the son of William (b.1868 in MS) and Ruth Exum (b.1876 in IL). For more see N. C. Bates, "Exum a great athlete and coach," Post-Tribune (IN), 02/06/2003, Neighbors section, p. B2.

See photo images and additional information at the website.

Access Interview Read about the William Exum oral history interview available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Education and Educators, Migration North, Track & Field, Migration East, Migration South, Olympics: Athletes, Games, Events
Geographic Region: Illinois / Mississippi / Tennessee / Gary, Indiana / Wisconsin / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

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

George [Speedy], Nettie
Birth Year : 1878
Death Year : 1957
Nettie George was born in Winchester, KY, on November 3, 1878, the youngest child of Hubbard and Ruth Wills George. Nettie George [Speedy] is best known for her career as a journalists with the Chicago Defender, she was one of the early African American women journalists to cover sports, courts, police, and the theater. Her expert writing as a journalist allowed her to gain access to functions throughout the city. She was sometimes referred to as the "Dean of Women Journalists." In 1926, Nettie George Speedy was the only woman named among the leading newspapermen who were seated around the board at the banquet honoring the Chicago Press Club [source: "The Officers of the Marching Club of Fort Dearborn Lodge of the Elks...," Broad Axe, 02/13/1926, front page]. In 1929, Nettie George Speedy formed the "Xenias" and the club's moto was "Finer Womanhood" [source: Ida B. Wells-Barnett and American Reform, 1880-1930 by P. A. Schechter]. The club was to assist women's and young girls' career choices by sharing her knowledge of newspaper work, and only 12 women and girls were allowed to become members of the club. Nettie George Speedy was a feminist; in her articles she highlighted the coverage of women, and in 1925, she founded the column "Scrapbook of Doers" which focused on the achievements of women. The column was followed by the "Woman's Page."  Nettie George Speedy was active in various ways in the Chicago community; in 1933, she was the sponsor of the Cynco Athletic Club, which was mentioned in what was Chicago's newest African American newspaper, The Spokesman [source: "Cynco Club's Program" Spokesman, 02/04/1933, p.5]. By 1938, Nettie George Speedy was a journalist with a new African American newspaper in Chicago, The Metropolitan Post, started in 1938. Her column was titled "Women and Their Activities" [source: Metropolitan Post, 12/03/1938, p.4]. The following year, the Chicago Women's Golf Club was formed and the officers were installed by Nettie George Speedy who was the Golf Mother of the club [source: "Chicago Womenns Golf Club gives gay party," Metropolitan Post, 02/18/1939, p.5]. Nettie George had come to Chicago in a roundabout way. Around 1879, her father, Hubbard P. George, moved his wife and four children from Winchester, KY, to Springfield, OH. Her mother, Ruth Wills George died in 1883, and in 1886, her father remarried in May of 1886 and died six months later. Sometime after the death of her parents, Nettie George returned to Winchester, KY. In 1895, she moved to Kansas to be with her sister Nora, and Nettie attended high school in Parsons [source: "Local and personal news," Parsons Weekly Blade, 11/09/1895, p.4]. By 1900, she had returned to Winchester, KY, where she was a school teacher [source: U.S. Census]. Nettie George would leave Kentucky and lived in Chicago where her prominent brother Frank P. George lived. In 1909, she married Walter Speedy, Sr., a tailor from Louisiana. He and Nettie were the parents of Walter Speedy, Jr. Nettie George Speedy died July 7, 1957 in Hardin County, OH, and she and her husband are buried in the Ferncliff Cemetery in Springfield, OH, where her parents are also buried [source: Find A Grave].
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky / Springfield, Ohio / Parsons, Kansas / Chicago, Illinois

Holland, Helen Shelby
Birth Year : 1907
Death Year : 1983
Holland was born in Hickman, KY; her family moved to South Bend, IN, in 1918. She graduated from Central High School in 1926, the same year that she was named Athlete of the Year. Holland was the first African American salesperson employed by a major department store in South Bend. She was the wife of Burnsy Holland. For more see the Helen Holland entry in The Black Women in the Middle West Project, by D. C. Hine, et al.; and the Helen Holland Collection at Northern Indiana Historical Society.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Migration North
Geographic Region: Hickman, Fulton County, Kentucky / South Bend, Indiana

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

Jackson, Pierre W. "Red"
Birth Year : 1928
Pierre Wallace Jackson, from Henderson, KY, is a 1949 graduate of Kentucky State College (now Kentucky State University [KSU]) and a 1975 inductee into the KSU Hall of Fame. During his junior year at the college, Jackson was a champion boxer, having won two lighter weight titles and the African American division heavyweight title at the The Herald-Leader's 1948 Golden Gloves Tournament. He was coached by Bob Carson. Jackson also received the Sportsman's Award during the tournament. In 1949, Jackson won the tournament's middleweight title. In addition to being a boxer, Jackson was an outstanding athlete who also played center on the KSU football team. Additional information provided by B. Morelock at CESKAA. For more see Pierre W. "Red" Jackson's photos in the Kentucky State University 1948-1949 yearbooks (online).


  See one of the photo images of Pierre Wallace "Red" Jackson on p.84 in the 1948 Thorobred yearbook, Kentucky State University.

Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Boxers, Boxing
Geographic Region: Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin 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

Johnson, Don
Birth Year : 1927
Don Johnson was born and reared in Covington, KY. He attended William Grant High School, where he was a noted talent in basketball, baseball, and track and field. He played baseball and softball informally until he was picked up by the Chicago American Giants in 1949, later playing for the Philadelphia Stars, Baltimore Elite Giants, and the Detroit Stars, all Negro League teams. Johnson was still playing baseball in the White Oak League in 1999. He was living in Cincinnati in 2005. For more see Don Johnson at the Negro League Baseball Players Association website; J. Erardi, "Don Johnson, pulled out of the stands into a career," The Cincinnati Enquirer, 07/04/1999; and Shadows of the past, by L. Stout.

See photo image of Don Johnson and additional information at the website.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Baseball, Basketball, Migration North, Track & Field
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

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

Kelly, James M. "Jim"
Birth Year : 1946
Death Year : 2013
Born in Millersburg, KY, Jim Kelly was a martial artist who co-starred in the film, Enter the Dragon, starred in Black Belt Jones, and acted in other movies. He was also a professional tennis player and was a tennis coach. Kelly was an athlete in high school and participated in several sports. He briefly attended the University of Louisville, but left school to study karate. In 1971 he won the International Middleweight Karate Championship. Jim Kelly resided in San Diego, California. His family is from Millersburg, KY, where they resided for more than a century, and includes Kelly's great-grandparents William and Lizzie Lewis, both born in the 1840s according to the U.S. Federal Census. For more see Jim Kelly (II); and Jim Kelly (martial artist) a Wikipeida web site.

See Jim Kelly, Actor In 'Enter the Dragon," Dies, a NPR website.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Athletes, Athletics, Migration West, Tennis, Martial Arts, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Millersburg, Bourbon County, Kentucky / California

Kentucky State College, NCAA Membership
Start Year : 1951
January 1, 1951, Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] became the third Negro college to be admitted to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The school was granted full, active, and voting membership and was a member of the Mid-West Athletic Association. There were other Negro schools that belonged to the NCAA as allied members because their conference belonged to the NCAA, but the schools had no voting privileges. The Black colleges that were members with voting rights were Kentucky State College, Wilberforce State [now Wilberforce University], and Lincoln University of Missouri. For more see "News Release: Kentucky State College admitted to membership in N. C. A. A." p.42 within the file Kentucky State College (Frankfort), Louisville Municipal College, & West KY Vocational Training School (Paducah), part of The Claude A. Burnett Papers: The Associated Negro Press, 1918-1967, Part 3: Subject Files on Black Americans, 1918-1967, Series A, Agriculture, 1923-1966 -- Proquest History Vault.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Lewis, Sherman
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; "Sherman Lewis: former Spartan football and track standout," 09/04/2001, at; 1994 Dawhares-Kentucky High School Athletic Association Sports Hall of Fame Induction Class at; 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

Lyons, Donald W., Sr.
Birth Year : 1945
Lyons was born in Lexington, KY, the son of Joseph B. and Sam Ella Lyons. He has been an educator, a librarian, and an athletic director. His teaching career began in Detroit, MI, in 1968, and continued in Kentucky in 1969. Beginning in 1971, he was hired as a librarian at Kentucky State University and became the library director in 1976. During his tenure as library director, Lyons also taught freshman classes and was a supervisor of the first-year teacher interns who were employed at various Kentucky schools. He left the library in 1989 to become Athletic Director at Kentucky State University, retiring in 1999. He is presently a Professor Emeritus. Donald Lyons is a graduate of the old Dunbar High School in Lexington, KY, and earned his A.B. degree in history and political science at Kentucky State University. He earned a masters of library science from the University of Kentucky (UK) in 1971, thus becoming the fourth African American graduate of the program [it was recently learned that Mrs. George O'Rourke graduated from the UK Library School in 1966.] In 1994 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Faith Grant College (formerly Daniel Payne College) for outstanding work for the cause of African-Americans and in the field of education. He has served in leadership positions on committees within the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC), and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). He is a past president of the Gamma Beta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, and is Grammateus of the Delta Tau Boulé of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. He was the 2008 recipient of the UK Libraries & School of Library and Information Science Lyman T. Johnson Torch Bearer Award. Lyons is an active member of community organizations and within his church. He is also presently a trustee of the Kentucky State University Foundation, serving as the treasurer and the executive secretary. Donald W. Lyons, Sr. is the husband of Myra L. Briggs Lyons, the father of Donald, Jr. and Reginald Lyons, and was a brother of the late Joseph B. Lyons, Jr. Information for this entry was taken, with permission, from the Donald W. Lyons biography.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Pendleton, Clarence M., Jr.
Birth Year : 1930
Death Year : 1988
Born in Louisville, KY, and raised in Washington, D.C., Pendleton was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as the first African American chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (1981-1988). Pendleton replaced Arthur S. Flemming, who was dismissed by President Reagan. Pendleton had been the director of the San Diego Urban League and was later an opponent of school busing and affirmative action. He changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican in 1980. Over the next eight years he lived part time in Washington, D.C. and part time in San Diego, where he died suddenly in 1988. His father had been the first swimming coach at Howard University, where Pendleton received his B.S. and his Master's degree in education. He later took over as the swimming coach at Howard, and the team won 10 championships in 11 years. For more see Current Biography (1984); and J. McQuiston, "Clarence M. Pendleton, 57, dies, Head of Civil Rights Commission," The New York Times, 06/06/1988, p. A1.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Athletes, Athletics, Education and Educators, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents, Urban Leagues, Swimmers, Swimming, Swimming Facilities
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Washington, D.C.

Poole, Harold
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
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Body Building, Football, Track & Field, Wrestling, Wrestlers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Indiana

Porter, William Edward "Bill"
Birth Year : 1918
Death Year : 1985
William E. Porter, born in Stanley, KY, was the second son of James Lester Porter and Edna Mae Hazelwood Porter. The family left Daviess County when William was a small child and moved to Gary, IN, where his father worked in the steel mills; the family later moved to Lima, OH. William Porter was a star athlete at Central High School in Lima, where he played football and set a number of track records. In 1936, he enlisted in the Army and served in North Africa during World War II, later serving in Italy with the 92nd Infantry, 366th Regiment, Company B. Porter was a 1st Lieutenant and was awarded a Purple Heart, a Silver Star, and Bronze Star for his service in World War II. During the Korean War, he was a Captain; he received a second Purple Heart and a Silver Star during that conflict. After his retirement in 1958, Major William Porter began his second career with the ROTC and served as a military police instructor in Kansas City, MO, and Monrovia, Liberia, Africa, while still on active duty. Porter died in November 1985 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. William E. Porter was the grandson of McDonald and Elvira Porter and the great-grandson of Richard Hazelwood. This entry was submitted by Denyce Porter Peyton. For additional information see Lima News articles 1933-1936 and 1958.

Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Education and Educators, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Corrections and Police
Geographic Region: Stanley, Daviess County, Kentucky / Gary, Indiana / Lima, Ohio

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 & Resorts, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon 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

Snorton, Hickman Matthew "Matt"
Birth Year : 1942
Death Year : 2016
Matt Snorton was an athlete who was born in Crofton, KY in 1942. He would eventually return to Christian County to become the Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator. His family left Kentucky when Matt Snorton was a child and they would settle in Detroit, MI, where Matt attended high school. He was a gifted athlete in baseball and football, he also played basketball, and was a musician in the marching band. Matt Snorton's high school baseball team won Detroit's Public School League Title in 1959 [source: R. Bak,"Northwestern Field in Detroit launched many great baseball careers," 08/03/2014 at ]. He received scholarship offers for both football and band, and he was offered a contract to play professional baseball. Considering all of the offers, Snorton settled at Michigan State University, where he played wide receiver on the football team from 1961-1963. He was selected by the Detroit Lions in the second round of the 1964 NFL Draft, and selected in the third round of the AFL Draft. Snorton decided to play professional football with the Denver Broncos, an AFL team. His career was cut short after five games due to an injury. Snorton changed his career to banking. He returned to Christian County in 1994 and was hired as the Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator. Snorton also worked at the radio station WHOP in Hopkinsville and he became a historian who researched African American history in Christian County. He developed one minute segments on African American history that were aired on WHOP during Black History Month. Hickman Matthew Snorton was the son of Flem and Mary Whitney Snorton, and he was the nephew of Charles C. Snorton. For more see S. Burnside, "Matt's journey," Kentucky New Era," 04/28/2004 [online]; "Community icon Matt Snorton will be missed by Christian County,"The Eagle Post, 01/03/2017 [online]; Matt Snorton at the NFL profile website; Matt Snorton's college stats at; and KY House of Representatives 17RS BR 1017 honoring Matt Snorton.


  See Matt Snorton picture and obituary at Gamble Funeral Home website. 

Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Baseball, Football, Historians, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Radio, Other
Geographic Region: Crofton, Christian County, Kentucky / Detroit, Michigan

Stout, Louis
Birth Year : 1939
Death Year : 2012
Louis Stout was born in Cynthiana, KY and was a graduate of Cynthiana High School. He played basketball under Joe B. Hall at Regis College [now Regis University] in Denver, CO. In 1994 he became the first African American to serve as the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Commissioner, making him the first African American in the nation to head a state athletic association. He had been with the association since 1971 and retired in 2002. Prior to that he was a basketball coach at the old Dunbar High School in Lexington, KY (1965-1967), and after school integration, he became head basketball coach at Tates Creek High School in Lexington. Stout is the author of Shadows of the Past. In 2011, he was named president of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). He was honored with inductions into the National Federation of High Schools' Hall of Fame, the Kentucky Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame, the AAU Hall of Fame, and the AAU Softball Umpire Hall of Fame. He also was inducted into the Dawahares/KHSAA Hall of Fame, an organization where he had championed the induction of many, many athletes. Louis Stout was the son of Elizabeth Wilson Ford and John Stout, Sr. He was the brother of Fielding "Toke" Coleman. For more see Louis Stout in the Blacks in Lexington Oral History Project, 1900-1989 at Special Collections, University of Kentucky; and M. Fields, "Former KHSAA commissioner Louis Stout dies," Lexington Herald-Leader, 09/09/2012.

  See photo image of Louis Stout at KET Basketball Gallery.

Access Interview Read about the Louis Stout oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Authors, Basketball
Geographic Region: Cynthiana, Harrison County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Taylor, Melvin W., Sr.
Birth Year : 1915
Death Year : 1997
Born in Iowa, Melvin W. Taylor, Sr. was the director of West Kentucky State Vocational Technical School [now West Kentucky Community and Technical College] in Paducah, KY, from 1972-1985. He was a member of a host of organizations, including the National U.S. Olympic Club. He had been an outstanding athlete in high school and college, lettering in basketball, baseball, football, track, and tennis; he also played one year of semi-pro football. He was the father of Springfield, IL, painter E. Vern Taylor. The Taylor family came to Paducah in 1954. For more see Profiles of Contemporary Black Achievers of Kentucky, by J. B. Horton; and T. Brown, "Artists share their journeys," State Journal Register, 06/21/2007.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Education and Educators, Fathers, Migration East
Geographic Region: Iowa / Paducah, McCracken 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

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

Utterback, Everett Emory
Birth Year : 1906
Death Year : 1992
Everett Utterback was a social worker, an athlete, and an attorney in Pittsburgh, PA. He prepared legal contracts for Gus Greenlee, owner of the Pittsburgh Crawfords baseball team (Negro League). Utterback prepared contracts with players such as Leroy Satchell Paige, and boxers such as John Henry Lewis, world light heavy weight champion 1935-1939. Everett Utterback was born in Mayfield, KY, the son of Monima and Eldridge Utterback. According to the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, the family of five lived on Second Street, and was supported by Eldridge who was brick mason. The family was still in Mayfield, KY in 1930, but without Everette who was attending the University of Pittsburgh on a track scholarship. In 1931, he was the first African American captain of the track team at the University of Pittsburgh. Utterback had competed in a 1929 Decathlon and came in second behind Barney Berlinger. In 1930 and 1931, he won the national championship in broad jump, and the ICA [Intercollegiate Athletics] broad jump championship. Also in 1931, Utterback won the Penn Relays Championship in the hop, skip, and jump. During his career, he won nine championships in the Penn Relays. He was a member of the IC4A indoor championship mile relay team. He set a number of track records. Utterback was also a graduate of Duquesne Law School [now Duquesne University School of Law] and retired as general counsel of the Pittsburgh Housing Authority. He had served as director of management of the housing authority with 5,900 units and 20,000 residents, and he was a social worker. He was a senior partner of Utterback, Brown and Harper, and was one of the lawyers working with the Pittsburgh NAACP to desegregate public facilities. Utterback was inducted into the Western Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, and was the first African American Lettermen of Distinction at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2006, he was recognized posthumously with a proclamation from the Allegheny County Council, and the Spirit of King Award from the Port Authority. For more see P. Jayes, "Memento recalls a different world," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 11/17/1983, p.14; see Everett Utterback in "Barney Berlinger leads Decathlon," The Bismarck Tribune, 04/26/1929, p.9; "Agency board institute is planned here," Altoona Mirror, 02/17/1950, p.1&4; see Everett Utterback in Urban Renewal in Selected Cities, Nov.4-Dec.31, 1957, U.S. GPO; see Everett Utterback in "Pitt to honor Olympic Champion John Woodruff, " The Courier [Pennsylvania], 05/11/1972, p.6; Who's Who Among Black Americans, 1977-1995; and contact the Allegheny County Council for the Proclamation to Everett Utterback dated January 12, 2006, Rich Fitzgerald, President.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Athletes, Athletics, Housing Authority, The Projects, Lawyers, Migration North, Track & Field, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Mayfield, Graves County, Kentucky / Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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

Whitney, Davey L.
Birth Year : 1930
Davey L. Whitney was born in Midway, KY. As a student at Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University], he earned more letters as an athlete than any other student has: in basketball, baseball, football, and track. He played baseball in the Negro League. He was head coach for more than 26 years at Alcorn State University in Mississippi. In 2002, he set a career victory record as a head basketball coach (551-338) and as the head coach at Alcorn State (496-275). He was ranked among the top six active coaches and was the first to receive the NCAA Hall of Champions Journey Award. The Davey L. Whitney Complex at Alcorn State was named in his honor in 1975. Davey Whitney retired in 2003 and was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. For more see W. Barnhouse, "Dave Whitney, master of perseverance," Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 02/19/2003; and R. D. Russo, "A full life, on and off the court," Black Issues in Higher Education, 4/27/2000, vol.17, issue 5, p.37.

Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Baseball, Basketball
Geographic Region: Midway, Woodford County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Alcorn State, Mississippi

Williams, Charles Holston
Birth Year : 1886
Death Year : 1978
Born in Camp Nelson, KY [according to his World War II draft registration card], Charles Holston Williams attended high school at Berea College until the Day Law was passed making Berea a segregated school. Williams transferred to Hampton Institute, where he finished high school and continued on to college. An outstanding student and athlete, Williams was a star baseball player at Hampton. He graduated in 1909 and the following year became the physical training director at the school. He was co-founder of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), and as a coach, he won CIAA championships in football, basketball and wrestling. He organized physical education demonstrations with Hampton students and faculty members performing drills, gymnastics and dances for the public. He formed the Hampton Creative Dance Group, the first national touring company made up of college students. Williams is author of Cotton Needs Pickin', Characteristic Negro Folk Dances and Negro Soldiers in World War I: the human side and co-author of Sidelights on Negro Soldiers and The Race Problem. Williams retired from Hampton in 1951. He was inducted into the CIAA Hall of Fame in 1975. He died in 1978, according to the Social Security Death Index. For more see African-American Concert Dance; the Harlem Renaissance and Beyond, by J. O. Perpener III.

   See photo image of Charles Holston Williams and additional information at the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and Museum website.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Authors, Baseball, Migration East
Geographic Region: Camp Nelson, Jessamine County, Kentucky / Berea, Madison County, Kentucky / Hampton, Virginia

Williams, Wallace D.
Birth Year : 1946
Wallace Williams is a retired Territorial Librarian and was director of the Florence Williams Public Library in Christiansted, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Williams is also a runner, an Olympic marathon runner. He was born in Campbellsville, KY, and in 1950 was the first African American to attend a white school, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School. He was among the first African Americans to graduate from Campbellsville High School in 1964. He had started running track and cross-country as a senior in high school. While a student at Bellarmine College [now Bellarmine University], he was the only African American on the cross-country team and the freshman basketball team. Williams left school and joined the the U.S. Air Force. While at Reese Air Force Base, Williams was the leading scorer on the base and squadron basketball teams and was also a coach. He received an Honorable Discharge from the Air Force and went on to earn a B.A. in liberal arts at Northwestern Illinois University. He was the school's leading scorer in basketball during the 1973-74 season, and was winner of the Golden Eagle Award. He was also a member of the Evanston Running Club at Northwestern University. In 1975, Williams earned a masters in library science at Rosary College [now Dominican University]. He was the school's first athletic coordinator in 1974. He was the first student delegate to attend the International Federation of Library Associations Conference (IFLA). In 1977, Williams began his 30 year career as a librarian in St. Croix, and during his career, he taught library skills at the University of the Virgin Islands, and he taught coping skills in the Adult Education Program with the Department of Education. He was secretary of the Rotary Club of St. Croix, was president of the St. Croix Library Association, and was co-president of the Virgin Islands Library Association. Williams was a newspaper columnist, and trained for marathons and established running organizations. In 1978 he founded the Virgin Islands Pace Runners and organized road races. He was founder of the Society of Olympic Marathon Runners, was a founding member of the Virgin Islands Triathlon Federation, and started Women Race for the Women's Coalition. In 1979, Williams ran in the marathon of the Pan American Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 1982, he was the first participant for the Virgin Islands to run in the Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC) in Havana, Cuba. He was also a delegate of the International Association of Athletic Federations Congress for several years, beginning in 1982. Williams competed in the World Cross-Country Championships in 1984 and in 1986. He competed in the Olympic Games Marathon in Seoul, Korea in 1988, and came in 81st with a time of 2:44:40. The marathon took place Sunday, October 2, 1988 at 2:30pm (local time). There were 118 athletes representing 70 countries, and 98 completed the marathon. Wallace Williams represented the U.S. Virgin Islands, he was the oldest competitor in the competition. Information in this entry was added with permission from the resumé of Wallace Williams. See also C. Buchannan, "On Island Profile: Wallace Williams," St. Croix Source, 07/29/2007 [available online, photo at end of article].

Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Basketball, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Military & Veterans, Track & Field, Migration South, Olympics: Athletes, Games, Events
Geographic Region: Campbellsville, Taylor County, Kentucky / St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands


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