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African American Boxers in Kentucky, Photographs
Start Year : 1945
End Year : 1950
Within the John C. Wyatt Lexington Herald-Leader Collection are photographs of many competitive African American boxers who participated in the Herald-Leader (Lexington, KY) Golden Gloves tournaments, including Pierre Jackson and other Kentucky State University boxers. The photographs are of the late 1940s-1950 tournaments. There are 460 images from the Golden Gloves series, 1948-1950 and around 100 other Golden Gloves-related photos through the 1950s. Many of these images are of African American boxers. Contact the Special Collections Research Center at (859) 257-8611 for an appointment to view the collection, for copies of the photographs and copyright information, or to learn more about the photographic collection.



See the 1950 Lexington Herald-Leader Golden Gloves Tourney Champions in UKnowledge. Photo from the John C. Wyatt Lexington Herald-Leader photographs.

Subjects: Boxers, Boxing, Photographers, Photographs
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Ali, Muhammad [Cassius Clay]
Birth Year : 1942
Death Year : 2016
Born in Louisville, KY, as Cassius Clay, he was the son of Marcellus and Odessa Grady Clay. In 1964 he joined the Nation of Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali; he is also referred to as "The Greatest." Ali won the light heavyweight gold medal as a member of the U.S. Boxing Team at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Italy. He was taken to California by his lawyer, Alberta O. Jones, to train under Archie Moore. Jones, a Kentucky native, also established a trust fund for Ali, who was an exceptional boxer with great promise. His career included 56 wins in 61 bouts with 37 KOs, and he was three-time heavyweight champion of the world. Ali was honored as Sportsman of the Century in 1999. For more see King of the World, by D. Remnick; and see photos and video at The Official Muhammad Ali website. Muhammad Ali died June 3, 2016 in Phoenix, AZ. "Muhammad Ali dies at age 74 after long battle with Parkinson's disease," an ESPN website.

Photo of Muhammad Ali at website.

Photo of Muhammad Ali in Explore UK.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Boxers, Boxing, Olympics: Athletes, Games, Events
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Rome, Italy / Phoenix, Arizona

Bannister, Frank T., Jr.
Birth Year : 1932
Death Year : 1986
Bannister, at one time a schoolteacher in Louisville, KY, later became a pollster with Jet magazine, compiling African American college football and basketball polls. Bannister was also a broadcaster who in 1976 became the first African American closed-circuit announcer for a heavy-weight championship fight: Muhammad Ali vs Ken Norton. He was selected for the job by Top Rank Inc. executives Robert Arum and Butch Lewis. Bannister, who had taught Ali when he was a student in Louisville, was a sportswriter and commentator. He was born in Roanoke, VA, and was a graduate of Tuskegee University, and earned a doctorate from the University of Massachusetts. For more see "Jet pollster Bannister to call Ali-Norton fight," Jet, vol. 51, issue 2 (09/30/1976), p. 52; and "Frank Bannister, 54 dies; sportscaster, educator," Jet, vol. 71, issue 8 (11/10/1986), p. 18.
See photo image of Frank T. Bannister, Jr. in Jet.
Subjects: Boxers, Boxing, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Television
Geographic Region: Roanoke, Virginia / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Blackburn, Charles H. "Jack"
Birth Year : 1883
Death Year : 1942
Charles Henry Blackburn was born in Versailles, KY. He was a boxer who went by the name Jack. Blackburn weighed 135 pounds, but his fast hands and legs, along with his hooks and jabs, allowed him to fight bigger and heavier men. He claimed to have fought nearly 400 bouts between 1901 and 1923, losing few of them. In 1909 Blackburn was arrested for the murder of Alonso Polk and also charged with attempted murder for shooting Polk's wife and his own wife, Maude Pillion. Blackburn served nearly five years of a 15 year sentence; while in the pen he was the boxing instructor for the warden and his sons. Blackburn continued to box for another decade after his release. After his retirement, he was a boxing trainer/manager for many boxers, including Joe Louis, who named his daughter, Jacqueline, after Jack Blackburn. For more see Jack Blackburn, a cyberboxingzone website; The Boxing Register. International Boxing Hall of Fame official record book, 2nd ed., by J. B. Roberts & A. G. Skutt; and Joe Louis: the Great Black Hope, by R. Bak. Blackburn is in the picture on p. 59 in Bak's book. See full length photo of Charles H. Blackburn at

Subjects: Boxers, Boxing
Geographic Region: Versailles, Woodford County, Kentucky

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

Edgerton, Walter "Kentucky Rosebud"
Birth Year : 1853
Death Year : 1923
Edgerton, was NOT from Kentucky, but rather was born in Norfolk, VA, and boxed out of Philadelphia. His birth year is also given as 1868. He was a featherweight and lightweight boxer who weighed between 115-128 lbs. and stood 5 ft. 4 in. Edgerton started boxing around 1882 and ended his career in 1916. [Covington, KY, native Howie Camnitz, a white baseball player, also had the nickname "Kentucky Rosebud." The name has been used by several other sport and entertainment figures.] For more see "Walter Edgerton" a Cyber Boxing Zone website; and Ethnicity, Sport, Identity, J. A. Mangan and A. Ritchie.

Subjects: Boxers, Boxing
Geographic Region: Norfolk, Virginia / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Ellis, James A. "Jimmy"
Birth Year : 1940
Death Year : 2014
Born in Louisville, KY, Jimmy Ellis trained with Mohammad Ali, he was World Heavyweight Boxing Champion from 1968-1970, but lost the title to Joe Frazier. One of the lightest heavyweight fighters, Ellis was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 2004. He was inducted into the Kentucky Hall of Fame in 1989. His career began in 1961 in Louisville; he retired from boxing in 1975. James "Jimmy" Ellis died May 5, 2014. For more see the Kentucky Encyclopedia 2000; and B. Brianstaff, "Louisville's forgotten champ," The Courier-Journal, 10/05/2004, Sports section, p. 01C. See photo image of Jimmy Ellis at See R. Goldstein, "Jimmy Ellis, a boxer long in Ali's shadow, dies at 74," The New York Times, 05/06/2014 [online].

Subjects: Boxers, Boxing
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Garner, Bob
Birth Year : 1923
Death Year : 1998
Garner, born in Louisville, KY, was a light heavyweight boxer who stood 5 feet 11 inches tall. Garner was a Kentucky Golden Gloves Champion. He started boxing at Douglas High School when he was 14 years old, beginning his professional career in 1943 after winning the Golden Gloves Championship. He had an overall record of 42 wins with 23 KOs, and 42 losses with 17 KOs, and 4 draws. He was a sparing partner of heavyweight champion Joe Louis; the two had several exhibition fights in 1948. Garner's last fight was in Huntington, WV, in 1953. He moved to Lexington, KY, and was employed as a locker room attendant at the Idle Hour County Club. Garner lived the remainder of his life in Lexington with his wife and children. For more see Bob Garner at the; the Bob Garner entry in the Afro-American Encyclopedia; Joe Louis: boxing champion, by R. Vitale; and "State boxing champ Bob Garner, 75, dies," Lexington Herald-Leader, Obituaries section, p. B2.
Subjects: Boxers, Boxing
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky /Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Grace, Leonard [and Ridgewood at Louisville and Jefferson County Children's Home]
Birth Year : 1916
Death Year : 1941
The name Leonard Grace would probably have never been mentioned in the newspapers had he not died at a young age during a boxing match that resulted in his opponent being charged with manslaughter. In Kentucky, it was one of the first times that a boxer received the charge of manslaughter for an opponent's death in the boxing ring. Leonard Grace was a lightweight boxer between the ages of 19-25; his exact age is unknown because Leonard Grace had been a ward of the state and his age changed based on who was answering the question. It was not too long after his eighteenth birthday, and a very brief professional boxing career, that Leonard Grace died on November 3, 1941 [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death Registrar's No.4804, the last name is misspelled "Gracen"]. He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Louisville, KY. His death was due to a subdural hemorrhage pulmonary edema, the result of injuries received during a bout with lightweight boxer Tommy Parker [BoxRec] from Lexington, KY. Leonard Grace went down in the ring at Columbia Gymnasium, his managers could not revive him, and he was pronounced dead on arrival at the City Hospital in Louisville, KY. Tommy Parker was initially charged with manslaughter, but Leonard Grace's death was ruled an accident by a coroner's jury. According to Leonard Grace's incomplete boxing record at the BoxRec website, he had had very few fights, one of which he lost to Johnny Allen [BoxRec] in November of 1938, the fight was scored a KO (knockout). That fight had also taken place at the Columbia Gymnasium in Louisville, KY. Little is known about Leonard Grace's personal life. He is listed in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census as a 14 year old ward of the Louisville and Jefferson County Children's Home. It is noted that he and his parents were born in Kentucky. The Louisville and Jefferson County Children's Home was a residential institution for dependent and delinquent children [source: "Ormsby Village-Ridgewood" by D. Morgan in The Encyclopedia of Louisville, editor J. E. Kleber, pp.678-679]. Children were placed in the home due to "neglect, ill treatment, delinquency, and undesirable home conditions," they became wards of the state [source: The WPA Guide to Kentucky by the Federal Writers' Project of the Work Projects Administration for the State of Kentucky, pp.349-350]. While at the home, Leonard Grace was a resident in the Ridgewood facility that housed the colored children; the building was located in Lyndon on LaGrange Road. In 1930, Lee B. Jett, Sr. was the superintendent of the home's colored facility, and he supervised 2 teachers, 2 employees, 3 matrons, maid Harriett Benny, and chef Fanny Arnold, all of whom cared for 105 wards and the superintendent's 2 children [source: 1930 U.S. Federal Census]. It is not known how long Leonard Grace was a ward of the Louisville and Jefferson County Children's Home. His parents' names are not known at this time. In 1930, there were 7 other African Americans in Louisville with the last name Grace, and they may or may not have been related. Havng been placed in the Children's Home, it was probably there that Leonard Grace was introduced to boxing, a sport for boys in many orphanages and homes for cildren. In 1940, Leonard Grace lived with John Gordon and Reachel Young, both from Tennessee [source: U.S. Federal Census]; all three lived on Magazine Street in Louisville. John Gordon worked with the WPA building streets. The following year, Leonard Grace died. On Leonard Grace's death certificate, John Gordon was the informant and he wrote "unknown" in the space for parents. In 1941, as written on the death certificate, John Gordon and Leonard Grace both lived at 1415 S. Third Street in Louisville. In 1939, Leonard Grace had been employed as a porter for the Taystee Bread Co. located at 1222 W. Liberty Street [source: p.668 in Caron's Louisville (Kentucky) City Directory 1939]. At the time of his death, Leonard Grace was said to be 20 years old on his death certificate; 21 years old according to the newspaper article announcing his death; 25 years old according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census; and 19 years old according to the 1940 U.S. Federal Census. For the announcement of Leonard Grace's death, see the last paragraph in the column "It Happened in Kentucky," Kentucky New Era, 11/04/1941, p.4; and the coroner's ruling in "Hit him too hard," Kentucky New Era, 11/18/1941, p.4. For a broader history of boxers who died in the ring, and additional sources, see "Boxing-related deaths" within chapter 2-Data Analysis in the title The Regulation of Boxing by R. G. Rogriguez.  
Subjects: Boxers, Boxing, Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Hall, Daniel
Born in Louisville, KY, Daniel Hall is the first African American vice president at the University of Louisville, he is the Vice President of External Affairs. Hall is also an attorney and served as Chief of Staff to U.S. Congressman Romano L. Mazzoli. Hall is the founder and served as the chair of the Louisville Public Radio Partnership Board of Directors. He has been a leader and active member of several organizations. He was the state's Golden Glove Champion for three years [boxing]. Daniel Hall is a graduate of Central High School in Louisville, Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. For more see Speaker Biographies in the program bulletin, "Brown v. Board of Education Turns Fifty: But We Are Still Separate and Not Equal," held at Eastern Kentucky University, February 26, 2004; and "Daniel Hall" on p.194 in Who's Who in Black Louisville: the inaugural edition.
Subjects: Boxers, Boxing, Education and Educators, Lawyers, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Hester, Billy
Born in Louisville, KY, Billy Hester was a middleweight boxer who won the Kentucky middleweight championship title in 1954. The fight took place in Louisville, KY, where Hester defeated George Wilson in a 12 round decision. He also defeated Australian middleweight champion Billy McDonnell in 1957 in Sidney, Australia. Hester's professional boxing career began in 1954 and ended in 1971. In October of 1971, a ten round fight was scheduled between Hester and Clarence Geiggar in Las Vegas, NV. Referee Ferd Hernandez called the fight due to a "no contest" because the fighters had not fought to the best of their abilities. The boxers' purses were held until an investigation was completed by the Nevada Athletic Commission. Hester's overall record was 25 wins (2 KOs), 5 loses (1 KO), and 2 draws. For more see the Billy Hester entry in the Afro-American Encyclopedia; "Hester outpoints McDonnell," New York Times, 07/02/1957, p. 22; "Fight results" in The Lima News, 10/07/1971, p. 29; "Boxing" in Oakland Tribune, 10/07/1971, p. 89; and Billy Hester at
Subjects: Boxers, Boxing
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Jackson, Horace "Stonewall"
Horace Jackson was from Louisville, KY, and later moved to Cincinnati, OH. He was a middleweight boxer who fought under the the name Stonewall Jackson. In April 1934, he was scheduled to fight Cincinnati middleweight, Smokey Maggard. The bout was to take place as an eight round main event in PAC Arena in Piqua, OH. Jackson was an inexperienced boxer, he was described as a slugger and swinger, with a wild and unorthodox style, fighting from a half crouch position. He had been boxing for little more than two years, learning from experience. His first fight took place February 22, 1932, when he won against Jackie Raymond in Milford, OH. Jackson's first loss was to Bobby Millsap in Covington, KY, April 18, 1933. His 1934 fight against Smokey Maggard was promoted in the local newspapers, tickets were sold at G. & G. Autoparts and Fred Loefflers in Piqua, OH. Admission was 44, 72, and 91 cents. Women could take any seat for 44 cents. The referee was Earl Smitley. Jackson lost the fight by decision. His last bout was in Louisville, KY, November 25, 1935, in a loss to Frank Glover. Stonewall Jackson's overall record was 13 wins with 6 knockouts, 10 losses with 2 knockouts, and 7 draws. For more see "Hard-hitting Kentucky boxer to face Maggard Tuesday eve," The Piqua Daily Call, 04/07/1934, p.9; and the Stonewall Jackson boxing record at
Subjects: Boxers, Boxing, Migration North
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Piqua, and Milford, Ohio /

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

Joe Louis Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, and Joe Louis Bottling Company
Start Year : 1952
End Year : 1953
Beginning in 1952, Joe Louis Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 86 proof, was a short-lived venture by then retired heavyweight boxer Joe Louis. He was owner of the Joe Louis Distilling Company in Philadelphia, PA, where the label was produced for about a year. The whiskey was bottled in Kentucky, and the last line of the bottle label read "Joe Louis Bottling Co., Lawrenceburg, Kentucky." By January 1953, the label read, "Joe Louis Distilling Co., Lawrenceburg, Kentucky." Miniature pairs of boxing gloves of various colors were used to promote the whiskey. The gloves were stamped with the Lawrenceburg bottling and distillery name. The whiskey was sold in different volumes, including fifths, pints, and half pints. Lucky Millinder [info] organized a band in 1952 to promote the whiskey. For more see "Lucky Millinder," Jet, 10/02/1952, p. 22; "Joe Louis launches new whiskey business," in Jet, June 19, 1952, p. 45; advertisement with Lawrenceburg Distilling Company name in Jet, 01/29/1953, p. 68; and advertisement in Arkansas State Press, 08/01/1952, p. 8.

See photo image of billboard ad for the whiskey at the Amistad Research Center American Missionary Association website at the Louisiana Digital Library.

Subjects: Alcohol, Boxers, Boxing
Geographic Region: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania / Lawrenceburg, Anderson County, Kentucky

Laurey, Albert "Kid Ashe"
Birth Year : 1879
Death Year : 1955
Albert Laurey was a 5'9" featherweight boxer in Cincinnati, OH. His World War II draft registration gives his birth location as Flemings County, KY. He went by the name Kid Ashe and "The Pork Chop King." Wendell P. Dabney, in Cincinnati's Colored Citizens, pp. 134-135, states that Albert Laurey, a child orphan, came to Cincinnati from Kentucky. He got a job as a newsboy, one of the few colored boys to carry newspapers in Cincinnati. Dabney described Laurey as a terrific fighter who soon became King of Newsboys. Kid Ashe began fighting professionally in 1899. In 1900, the sports column in the Freeman newspaper mentioned that Kid Ashe was looking for a fight engagement [source: Ned Lmo Bee, "Sport time," Freeman, 11/10/1900, p. 7]. There are several articles in the Freeman newspaper about Kid Ashe's bouts. According to the Box Rec website, Kid Ashe had a record of 10 wins with 6 KOs, 13 loses with 2 KOs, and 15 draws. He was managed by Louis Smith and Harry Gordon. Albert Laurey was the husband of Georgia Laurey, who was born in Ohio. [NOTE: last name spelled both Laurey and Lauray in the census records.]
Subjects: Boxers, Boxing, Migration North
Geographic Region: Flemings County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

McClain, William C. "Billy"
Birth Year : 1857
Death Year : 1950
Multi-talented William McClain was a minstrel actor and Hollywood motion pictures actor, he was also a dancer, a musician, a playwright, wrote music and lyrics, and was a short story writer. He played cornet in Lou Johnson's Minstrels, and spent many years with the minstrels in Europe and lived in Paris, France from 1906-1913. He was also a member of Orpheus McAdoo's Jubilee Singers and Concert Company in Australia. One of McClain's works was The Smart Set, written in 1901. He wrote several songs including Shake, Rattle, and Roll. McClain had also trained as a boxer, and he managed and trained famous heavyweight boxer Sam McVey. On the screen, McClain played the role of The King in Nagana in 1933, and appeared in more than 20 movies, the last in 1946. He played various restricted roles, such as a servant, butler, footman, cook, and janitor. In 1938, he played the role of Zeke in Kentucky, and in 1939, the role of a horse groomer in Pride of the Bluegrass [aka Steeplechase]. McClain was the husband of Cordelia McClain, and the father of actress Teddy Peters. At the time of his death, his age was estimated to be 93, but his birth year has also been given as 1866, and his birth location has been given as Kentucky and Indianapolis, IN. For more see "Arrangements incomplete for actor's rites," Los Angeles Sentinel, 02/02/1950, p.A4; "Billy McClain" in Who Was Who On Screen, by E. M. Truitt; A History of African American Theater by E. Hill and J. V. Hatch; and The Ghost Walks by H. T. Sampson.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Boxers, Boxing, Migration West, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana / Paris, France, Europe / Australia / Hollywood and Los Angeles, California

Mitchell, Charley
In 1910, Charley Mitchell was the African American lightweight boxing champion of Paducah, KY. He was scheduled to go six rounds against African American boxer Bob Blanks, who may have been from Mississippi. The fights were sponsored by the Kentucky Athletic Club, and the segregated bouts were held at the auditorium rink in Paducah. Young African American boxers were to be the "curtain raiser" for the event. For more see "Boxing Match," The Paducah Evening Sun, 01/07/10, p. 5.
Subjects: Boxers, Boxing
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Moore, David Schultz, "Davey"
Birth Year : 1933
Death Year : 1963
David S. Moore was a featherweight boxer born in 1933 in Lexington, KY. [Not to be confused with the later Davey Moore, a champion middleweight boxer from New York, 1959-1988.]  Davey S. Moore, from Lexington, KY, was also a champion boxer whose professional career started in the early 1950s and ended with his death in 1963 as a result of injuries received during the championship bout with 21 year old Ultiminio "Sugar" Ramos, who was the 1960 Cuban Featherweight Champion. Ramos had left Cuba and was living in Mexico City, Mexico. The Moore v. Ramos fight was held March 21, 1963, in Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA. In the 10th round Moore went down. He got back up and finished the round, after which, the referee stopped the fight and declared Ramos the champion. Moore gave an interview, went to his dressing room, and complained of a headache. He was rushed to the hospital, and March 25, 1963, Moore died from brain stem injury [source: California Death Index]. His body was returned to Springfield, OH; his services were held at Mt Zion Baptist Church; and Davey Moore was laid to rest at Ferncliff Cemetery. His last fight was among the group of first nationally televised boxing matches. After Davey Moore's death, there was a call from California governor, Edmund G. Brown, to ban boxing in California. The cry to ban boxing also came from sportswriters, from Pope John XIII, and singer songwriter Bob Dylan wrote and sang the protest song "Who killed Davey Moore?" Ring Magazine had started to list the deaths of boxers in 1945; Davey Moore's death was number 216, and it was the second boxing death for the year 1963. Twenty-nine year old Davey Moore had been boxing professionally for little more than a decade. He was a member of the 1952 U.S. Olympic Team. In 1959, he won the featherweight title by defeating Hogan "Kid" Bassey [BoxRec], Nigeria, Africa's first world boxing champion, and Moore defended the title until losing it to Ramos in 1963. Davey Moore's record as a professional featherweight boxer was 59 wins, 7 losses, and 1 draw, according to the BoxRec webpage. He was also the bantamweight champion in the 1951 Intercity Golden Gloves Tournament and champion of the National AAU Tournament (118 pounds) in 1952. In 2013, the city of Springfield, OH, recognized Davey Moore's life with an 8 foot bronze statue. Ultiminio Ramos flew from Mexico City to attend the unveiling of the statue in Springfield, OH. Davey Moore Park is also named in his honor. Davey Moore was the son of Jessie Ball Moore (1893-1990), from Ohio, and Rev. Howard T. Moore (1896-1970), from Kentucky. Rev. Howard T. Moore was from Berry in Harrison County, KY, he was the son of James and Cordelia Moore [source: 1900 U.S. Federal Census]. Rev. Howard T. Moore was pastor of Christ Temple Church at 253 E. Second Street in Lexington, KY in 1931 [source: pp.369 & 687 in Polk's Lexington (Kentucky) City Directory, 1931-32]. Jessie and Howard Moore are listed in the Lexington city directory until 1935 when they moved back to Springfield, OH; the couple had lived in Springfield as early as 1918 when Howard was a butler and the couple lived at 1107 Innisfallen Ave [source: p.604 in Williams' Springfield City Directory for 1918]. In 1940, the family of nine lived on Chestnut Street and David, the youngest child, was the only one listed in the census as born in Kentucky, the other children were born in Ohio [source: 1940 U.S. Federal Census]. Davey Moore was the husband of Geraldine Moore, and the couple had five children. For more see T. Safford, "Remembering Davey Moore's life, fights," Springfield News-Sun, 03/10/2013 [online]; "Davey Moore stands tall once again," Dayton Daily News, 09/15/2013, p.C1; "Final bell sounds for boxer Davey Moore," Evening Independent, 03/25/1963, p.13A; and "Last respects paid to Davey Moore," St. Petersburg Times, 03/31/1963, Sports section, p.2-C.


  See photo image and additional information at BoxRec webpage, Davey Moore (Featherweight).


  Watch the Moore v. Ramos fight while listening to Bob Dylan sing the song "Who Killed Davey Moore?" on YouTube.
Subjects: Boxers, Boxing, Migration North, Olympics: Athletes, Games, Events
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Springfield, Ohio / Los Angeles, California / Berry, Harrison County, Kentucky / Cuba / Mexico City, Mexico / Nigeria, Africa

Page, Gregory E. "Greg" (boxing)
Birth Year : 1958
Death Year : 2009
Page was born in Louisville, KY. A gifted boxer, he won the national Amateur Athletic Union heavyweight championship in 1977 when he was a junior in high school. He won it again in 1978 prior to his high school graduation. After graduation, Page turned pro. He was touted as the next Ali. But after his father's death, Page ran into contract and financial troubles. He defeated Gerrie Coetzee of South Africa for the 1984 WBA heavyweight title, then lost the title five months later. He also began to lose his property and took a break from boxing. Page boxed off and on, filed for bankruptcy, and later left boxing again and held a full-time job painting dental equipment. In 2001, at the age of 42, Page left his day job to prepare for a boxing career comeback. He suffered permanent brain damage in a bout with Dale Crowe in Erlanger, KY, in March 2001. Greg Page was inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005. For more see "Greg Page" on the Inductees, Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame website; Greg Page time-line articles in the Courier-Journal (Louisville), June 12-15, 2005; W. Graves, "New regulations close to reality," The Kentucky Post, 03/23/2006; D. T. Lovan, "Former boxing champ Greg Page dies in Louisville," Lexington Herald-Leader, 04/27/2009; and B. W. Baye, "Special Tribute, Boxing Royalty, Greg Page" in Who's Who in Black Louisville, 3rd ed., pp.49-50. See video Greg Page vs Gerrie Coetzee RD 8 on YouTube.

Subjects: Boxers, Boxing
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / South Africa / Erlanger, Kenton County, Kentucky

Primo Carnera v Ed "Bearcat" Wright (boxing)
Start Year : 1930
The Kentucky Derby brings a large number of spectators to Louisville, KY, and in 1930, the racing weekend's activities included boxing matches. At top billing was Primo Carnera and Edward "Bearcat" Wright, two heavyweight boxers. The fight was to take place at the Louisville American Legion Post. [Carnera was also a professional wrestler from 1946-1961. Wright was NOT a professional wrestler.] Carnera (1906-1967) was a 6 ft. 6 in. Italian boxing champion who had come to the United States at the beginning of 1930. For the Louisville fight, he weighed in at 285 lbs. Carnera's nickname was "Ambling Alp." His opponent, Texan Ed Wright (1897-1975), was a 6 ft. 1 in. African American boxer who fought out of Omaha, Nebraska. He had a fairly successful career, including the knock-out win over 50-year-old Jack Johnson in 1928. In 1930, Wright weighed in at 220 lbs. Wright's manager Jim Dougherty and the fight promoters ignored the fact that Carnera had been banned from fighting in California and New York due to suspicious victories; Carnera was an attraction who would bring in large door receipts. Wright was not expected to win the bout. Things were going as planned until a little more than a week before the fight, when the American Legion and the Kentucky State Athletic Board of Control cancelled the fight. Carnera was suspended by the National Boxing Association while they investigated his previous knockout wins. The fight was rescheduled for July 17, 1930, in Omaha, Nebraska; Carnera won by a knock-out in the fourth round. Shortly after the fight, Carnera, who had entered the U.S. on a six month visa and had overstayed his time, was ordered out of the U.S. He appealed to the Labor Department, and his stay was extended until the end of the year; he would eventually become a U.S. citizen. Carnera returned to Louisville in 1932 to fight Jack Taylor, who he knocked out in the second round. There was rumor and speculation that Carnera was owned by gangsters and that his fights were fixed. In 1935, Carnera was beaten by a technical knock-out in the sixth round by "The Brown Bomber," African American boxer Joe Louis. The fight was billed by the media as a duel between Italian fascism and American democracy. For more see Taboo, by J. Entine; "Canera's fight cancelled," Daily Illini, 04/26/1930, p. 8 [article full-text in Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection]; "Carnera wins plea to stay until Dec. 31," New York Times, 08/03/1930, p. 22; "Primo Carnera suspended; action follows investigation of knockouts by NBA," New York Times, 05/17/1930, p. 20; and Beyond the Ring, by J. T. Sammons.

Edward "Bearcat" Wright at

Primo Carnera at

Subjects: Boxers, Boxing
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Robinson, Jimmy (boxer)
Robinson, a lightweight boxer who weighed around 142 pounds, was born in Louisville, KY. He started his career in 1946, boxing against Frankie Malone in Louisville, KY. The bout ended in a 4-4 draw. Many of Robinson's fights took place in Louisville or in a neighboring state. His career ended July 1951 with a loss to Gene George Carpentier, in a fight that was held in Newark, NJ. Robinson's overall record was 24 wins with 11 KOs, 16 losses with 4 KOs, and 3 draws. For more see Jimmy Robinson at;
Subjects: Boxers, Boxing
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentuckky

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

Steve Crosby v Edmund "Kid" Rucker (boxing)
Start Year : 1897
In 1897 the state of Kentucky and the city of Louisville did not permit boxing matches between African Americans and whites for fear of race riots. But that did not prevent the fight between African American Steve Crosby, a lightweight professional fighter, and a white Louisville native, amateur fighter Edmund "Kid" Rucker. The publicity was handled by Louisville Times newspaperman Verney "Screw" Sanders, and admission orders came from Nashville, TN; Evansville and Indianapolis, IN; and Lexington, KY. The location of the bout was not publicized. The day of the fight, those with purchased admission knew to be on the riverbank by 8:00 p.m. when tugboats would take the boxers and what was thought to be an all-male audience to Six Mile Island in the Ohio River. At the island, the white audience stood on one side of the makeshift ring and African Americans were on the opposite site. As the fight progressed, Rucker was knocked down again and again, but he continued to get up and keep fighting. During the 13th round, a rifle was taken away from a spectator who wanted to shoot Crosby for a perceived foul that left Rucker lying face down in the ring. Rucker was taken to his corner and given a whiff of nitrate of amyl, and the bout continued until the 20th round when the referee called it a tie. The fight was reported in the Louisville Courier Journal on September 18, 1897. For more see E. Rucker, "A Prize Fighter in the Nineties," Harper's Magazine, 179 (June/November 1939) pp. 243-255.
Subjects: Boxers, Boxing
Geographic Region: Six Mile Island and Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Stitch, Rudell
Birth Year : 1933
Death Year : 1960
Rudell 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

Subjects: Boxers, Boxing, Swimmers, Swimming, Swimming Facilities
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Stoner, Fred
In 1960, Fred Stoner was the first African American to be named to the Kentucky Boxing Commission. Stoner was a boxing trainer in Louisville, KY, for Cassius M. Clay [Muhammad Ali], Rudell Stitch, and other lesser known boxers. In addition to being a trainer, Stoner was also a barber, and is listed in the 1939-40 Caron's Louisville (Kentucky) City Directory. For more see "Another first," Los Angeles Sentinel, 03/03/1960, p.C6; and "Kentucky Boxing Commission selects first Negro," Jet, 03/17/1960.
Subjects: Boxers, Boxing
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Thomas, Theopolus Lean
Thomas, a boxer, was a two time winner of the Kentucky Negro Boxing Championship. In 1936, he was a contender in the tri-state amateur tournament at the Parkway Arena in Cincinnati, OH, under the Ohio Association A. A. U. Boxing Committee. For more see the article "Al Wardlow booked in boxing tourney," Evening Gazette, 09/16/1936, p.5. 
Subjects: Boxers, Boxing
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Thompson, Jr., Eddie James
Birth Year : 1935
Death Year : 2016
Eddie James Thompson, Jr. was a professional boxer, a carpenter, and a political activist in northern Kentucky. It is believed that he was the first African American to run for Mayor of Covington, KY, though unsuccessful in his 1979 bid. However, he had been sucessful in 1963 when he became the first African American admitted to the Carpenters Union in Cincinnati, OH. He was also founder and owner of his construction company, American Urban Contractors. He was president of the Model Cities Advisory Board in Northern Kentucky in 1972, and the executive director of the Housing and Urban Development Corporation in Northern Kentucky in 1977. Eddie James Thompson, Jr. had also been a professional boxer. He fought out of New York and had a record of 17 wins with 6 KOs, 9 losses with 3 KOs, 2 draws. He fought in the welterweight division and had his debut win in Boston, MA in 1956 against Eddie Connors. His last fight was a loss to George Benton in 1962 in Philadelphia, PA. Most of his fights were in the United States, except a 1960 win in Lombardia [or Lombardy], Italy against Italo Scortichini, and a 1959 loss to Baby Colon in Havana, Cuba. Eddie James Thompson, Jr. was a graduate of Lincoln Grant High School in Covington where he played several sports. He attended Kentucky State College (now Kentucky State University) before leaving for his boxing career in New York. He had been Covington's African American boxing champion, having fought at St. Joseph Catholic Church Gym where he was a Golden Gloves Champion in 1956.  Eddie James Thompson, Jr. was born in Forrest City, AR. When he was three years old, his parents Rev. Eddie Sr. and Mallie Edmonson Thompson, moved the family to Covington, KY. In 1940, the family lived in the rear of 341 W. 9th Street and Eddie J. Thompson, Sr. was a laborer [source: p.391 in William's Covington (Kenton Co., Ky) City Directory 1940-41]. For more information see Eddie James Thompson, Jr. in the obituary section of the Mount Vernon News, 10/13/2016 [available online]; the Eddie Thompson entry in; and the middle column of the "Boxing" entry on p.107 in The Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky.  
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Boxers, Boxing, Construction, Contractors, Builders, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Carpenters, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Forrest City, Arkansas / Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky / New York


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