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Notable Kentucky African Americans Database

<Swimmers, Swimming, Swimming Facilities>

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Colored Swimming Pool (Louisville, KY)
Start Year : 1924
End Year : 1955
The city swimming pools in Louisville, KY, were off limits to African Americans until the Colored Swimming Pool was constructed at 17th and Magazine Streets in 1924. This was probably the first public/city swimming pool in Kentucky that was specifically for African Americans. The Colored Swimming Pool and the playground, located on the west side of Louisville, are credited to the community leadership effort of William H. Sheppard. The pool was manged by Kenneth Bower as early as 1926 [source: Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville, Ky. for 1926, p.483], and the following year William H. Sheppard died. In his honor, the playground and pool were named the William Sheppard Park. For more than 25 years the pool continued to be designated in the city directory as the Colored Swimming Pool. From 1929-1930, Benjamin Gill was manager of the pool [source: Caron's Louisville City Directory for 1929, p.497; and 1930, p.493]. Julius Dickerson was the manager in 1931 [p.467]. In 1939, the pool was listed as being located on the corner of 16th Street [source: Caron's Louisville (Kentucky) City Directory, 1939, p.383]. The listing for 1949 was "Sheppard Park Colored Swimming Pool" on p.484 of Caron's Louisville (Jefferson County, KY.) City Directory. The Louisville city parks, including the pools, were desegregated in 1955. In the 1956 city directory, the word "colored" was dropped and the listing read "Sheppard Park Swimming Pool" [p.1022]. For more on the desegregation of Louisville city parks and pools see Freedom on the Border by C. Fosl and T. E. K'Meyer; and The Substance of Things Hoped for, the Evidence of Things Not Seen (thesis) by R. M. Lee.
Subjects: Swimmers, Swimming, Swimming Facilities
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Davis, Samuel
Birth Year : 1895
Death Year : 1920
Twenty-five year old Samuel Davis drowned while attempting to save 16 year old Estelle Garnand and her friend, Mary Etta Martin, from the "sunk holes" in the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River, July 12, 1920. He was able to save Martin, but both Davis and Garnand drowned. Davis was a coal miner from Aflex, KY. He was African American, and Garnand and Martin were white. Davis was awarded a Carnegie bronze medal [posthumously], and his wife received a pension of $50 per month and an additional $5 for their daughter, all from the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission. Davis was one of 23 persons to be recognized by the commission in 1921 and one of two to receive a bronze medal. For more see the 1922 Negro Year Book, by M. N. Work; "Samuel Davis," The Crisis, vol. 22, issue 2 (June 1921), p. 87 [available online at Google Book Search]; "Carnegie medals to 23 for heroism," The New York Times, 04/30/1921, p. 16; Samuel Davis at the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission website; and "Miss Estelle Garnand" on page 3 of The Kingsport Times, 07/20/1920.
Subjects: Miners, Mines, & Steel Mills, Swimmers, Swimming, Swimming Facilities
Geographic Region: Aflex, Pike County, Kentucky

Frazer, Patterson Tilford, Jr.
Birth Year : 1889
Death Year : 1947
Frazer was born in Allensville, KY, the son of Henry and Sarah Frazer, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. Patterson Frazer came to Hopkinsville, KY, at the age of 12 to attend Hopkinsville Male and Female College, according to authors W. T. Turner and D. K. Stone. His uncle, P.T. Frazer, Sr. was principal of the school. Patterson Frazer would continue his education at Meharry Medical College where he earned his M.D. He opened a medical practice in Cadiz, KY, and would leave the practice to serve in the U.S. Army during WWI. He was a lieutenant in the Colored M.R.C. (Medical Reserve Corp). At the end of his military service, Frazer opened a medical practice in Hopkinsville, KY. He would remain in the city for the remainder of his life. He is remembered for his successful medical career, and for Frazer's Natatorium. A natatorium is a swimming pool in its own building. It was a rare thing to have such a facility for African Americans in the 1930s. For more see "P. T. Frazer, Jr. M.D." in Hopkinsville by W. T. Turner and D. K. Stone; and The Meharry News, vol 14, issue 3, p.7 [available online .pdf].
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Military & Veterans, Swimmers, Swimming, Swimming Facilities
Geographic Region: Allensville, Todd County, Kentucky / Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky / Cadiz, Trigg 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.

Stitch, Rudell
Birth Year : 1933
Death Year : 1960
Stitch, a welterweight boxer from Louisville, is one of a few persons to receive two Carnegie Hero Fund Medals. Stitch received the first medal for saving Joseph Schifcar from drowning in the Ohio River (Louisville) on September 15, 1958. Almost two years later, Stitch attempted to save his friend and fishing buddy, boxer Charles Oliver, who had fallen into the Ohio River; both Stitch and Oliver drowned June 5, 1960. Rudell Stitch was the son of Lena Mae Henderson Stitch and Charles Rudell Stitch. He was the husband of Rosa Huguley Stitch (1932-1964, born in Alabama). The couple had six children. Rudell Stitch was a champion boxer: in 1960, prior to his death, Stitch had been ranked the No. 2 welterweight contender by Ring Magazine. His record was 27 wins, 7 losses. Some of his fights had been televised nationally. Stitch was a respected boxer who was often referred to as "classy" in the more than 2,000 U.S. newspaper articles about his individual bouts, career and death. Later in 1960, the National Boxing Association established the Rudell Stitch Sportsmanship Award; the first award was presented to his family the following year. Rudell Stitch was also an elder at Hope Presbyterian Church in Louisville, under Rev. C. E. Allen. For more see "Stitch gets hero honors," The Times Recorder, 05/09/1959, p. 11; "Act of heroism claims top-rated boxer's life," Bakersfield Californian, 06/06/1960, p. 32; "Rudell Stitch Sportsmanship Award," Presbyterian Life, vol. 13 (1960), p. 24; the column, "A Century of Heroes," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 12/27/2004, p. A2; and B. Crawford, "Boxer made the greatest sacrifice of all," Courier-Journal (Louisville), 11/25/2005, p. B1.
See photo image of Rudell Stitch at boxrec.com.
Subjects: Boxers, Boxing, Swimmers, Swimming, Swimming Facilities
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

 

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