<Track & Field>
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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
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
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 : 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 UWBadgers.com website.
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
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
Birth Year : 1982
Tyson Gay is an outstanding track star from Lexington, KY, the son of Daisy Gay Lowe and Greg Mitchell. He is a graduate of Lafayette High School in Lexington, where he won three State Class 3A 100-meter championships and in 2001 set the standing record of 10.6 seconds. Gay attended Barton Community College in Kansas, where he won the Junior College 100-meter Crown in 2002. His successful career running both the 100 and 200-meter races continued in Arkansas. In 2006, Track and Field ranked Gay 2nd in the world in the 100 and 1st in the 200. At the 2007 USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, Gay set a new record of 19.62 seconds in the 200, beating the record of 19.66 set by Michael Johnson in 1996. Through the years, he has won a number of competitions around the world. He set an American record of 9.7 seconds in the 100 meter race at the 2009 World Championships, and later that year broke the record again at a competition in Shanghai when he ran the 100 meters in 9.69 seconds. At the 2012 Olympics in London, England, Gay came in 4th in the 100 meter race. Tyson Gay's success continues. For more see M. Maloney, "Catch him if you can - Lexingtonian is split-second away from being world's fastest human," Lexington Herald-Leader, 03/04/2007, Main News section, p. A1; and M. Maloney, "Gay, in a runaway - Lexington native tops Michael Johnson's meet record," Lexington Herald-Leader, 06/25/2007, Sports section, p. D1.
See photo image and additional information about Tyson Gay at the bio.True Story website.
Subjects: Track & Field
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Great Bend, Kansas / Arkansas
Birth Year : 1950
From Eminence, KY, Green was the first African American athlete to graduate from the University of Kentucky. A state high school track champion in the 100, 220 and 440, he attended the university on a track scholarship. His freshman year he won the 100 yard dash in 9.7 seconds in New Orleans during the Super Bowl meet and the 60 yard dash in Detroit during the NCAA indoor meet. Green had hoped to participate in the 1968 Olympics but suffered a hamstring injury. Two of the Olympic sprinters that year were Tommie Smith and John Carlos, African Americans who raised their fists while standing on the awards platform. For more see "Green's Sprinting Helped Pave Way," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/20/98; and M. Maloney, "Sprinter leads Mason-Dixon Hall's first class, Green's legacy began at games," Lexington Herald-Leader, 03/03/2005, Sports section, p. B8.
Subjects: Track & Field
Geographic Region: Eminence, Henry County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky
Birth Year : 1818
Isbell was free born in Kentucky and at the age of 20 moved to Chicago. He participated in Chicago's first recorded sports competition in a race between Isbell, a Native American named White Foot, and a man on a horse; Isbell won the race. According to author Perry Duis, who cited articles in the Chicago Post and the Chicago Democrat, Isbell was the fastest and most popular runner in the Chicago area for ten years. He retired and became a full-time barber after coming in second in a race in 1847 that took place before more than 1,000 spectators. For more see Challenging Chicago: coping with everyday life, 1837-1920, by P. R. Duis, pp. 171-172.
Subjects: Barbers, Migration North, Track & Field
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois
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
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 Cincinnati.com website.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Baseball, Basketball, Migration North, Track & Field
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio
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
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
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
Smith, James T. "Jimmy"
Birth Year : 1913
Death Year : 1999
James T. Smith, born in Maceo, KY, was a national track athlete in Indiana and was considered by some to be the best black long distance runner in the United States. Smith attended high school in Evanston, IL, and in 1934, became a student at Indiana University. He was not an outstanding track athlete in high school, but he excelled in college. James T. Smith was a member of the four mile relay team and set the national collegiate record by running his leg in 4 minutes and 14 seconds. In 1936, he set the mile record at the Indiana State Intercollegiate Track Meet with a time of 4 minutes and 11 seconds; it was the Indiana collegiate record for 29 years. Smith also won the National Junior A. A. U. Cross Country Championship his freshman year. He was the co-captain of the Indiana University Cross Country Team and was a member of the All-American Cross Country Team. He was selected for the Big Ten All-Star Track Team. In 1938, he broke the Big Ten record for the two mile run. James T. Smith's college track coach was E. C. Hayes. The Achievement Commission of Kappa Alpha Psi awarded James T. Smith the Gold Key for outstanding achievement by an undergraduate member of the fraternity. Smith put himself through college by working at various jobs on and off campus. He was a business major and graduate from Indiana University in 1938. He became a public accountant and was owner of Smith's Big 10 Grocery. His brother Lannie Smith assisted him with his grocery business. James T. Smith was the first president of the black organization the Indy Trade Association. In 1982, he graduated from Christian Theological Seminary and became an associate pastor at the Light of the World Christian Church. In 1998, James T. Smith graduate from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, OH, with a doctorate of ministry. For more see C. B. Ashanin, "Thankful for the life of Rev. James T. Smith," Indianapolis Star, 12/25/1999, p.A22; J. Cebula, "Ministry born of little sister's suffering," Indianapolis Star, 12/12/1998, p.D8; "Rev. James T. Smith to be honored," Indianapolis Recorder, 05/04/1985, p.10; R. Woods, "Grocers love for people makes successful business," Indianapolis Recorder, 01/15/1966, p.11; see 'Now there is Jimmy Smith...' in the article "World of Sports" by Frank M. Davis in the Plaindealer [Kansas], 05/07/1937, p.3; see 'The Achievement Commission...' in the article "Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity discusses national problems at conclave," Negro Star, 01/15/1937, p.3; "Smith looms out as a formidable candidate for Indiana University track," Indianapolis Recorder, 11/24/1934, p.2; and G. J. Fleming, "After Jimmy graduates, what?," The Crisis, August 1938, v.45, no.8, pp.264 & 277.
*Maceo, Kentucky was settled after the Civil War by former slaves, according to author Robert M. Rennick. The land was provided by the freedmen's former owners. One of the earlier names of the community was Powers Station in honor of Colonel J. D. Powers of Owensboro. In 1897, the community was renamed Maceo for Capt. Alonzo Maceo who was a Cuban mulatto killed during the Cuban revolt against Spain. Source: Kentucky Place Names by R. M. Rennick, p.183.
Subjects: Businesses, Accountants, Bookkeepers, Certified Public Accountants, Stenographers, Communities, Migration North, Religion & Church Work, Track & Field
Geographic Region: Maceo, Daviess County, Kentucky / Evanston, Illinois / Indianapolis, Indiana
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
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
Geographic Region: Campbellsville, Taylor County, Kentucky / St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands