Complete A-Z list

Complete list of sources

Recent Additions / Updates

About NKAA

NKAA Brochure

African American Library Directors in the USA

Links of Interest




staff only

University of Kentucky Libraries

Notable Kentucky African Americans Database

<Olympics: Athletes, Games, Events>

Return to search page.

Ali, Muhammad [Cassius Clay]
Birth Year : 1942
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.

Photo of Muhammad Ali at website.
 
Photo of Muhammad Ali in Explore UK.
Subjects: Boxers, Boxing, Olympics: Athletes, Games, Events
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Rome, Italy

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 UWBadgers.com 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

Gay, Tyson
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, Olympics: Athletes, Games, Events
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Great Bend, Kansas / Arkansas

Green, Jim
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, Olympics: Athletes, Games, Events
Geographic Region: Eminence, Henry County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Griffith, Darrell A.
Birth Year : 1958
Darrell A. Griffith was born in Louisville, KY. He was invited to the 1976 Olympic trials as a high school basketball player. As a 6' 4" guard at the University of Louisville, he acquired the nickname "Dr. Dunkenstein," led the school to its 1980 NCAA basketball championship and received the John Wooden Award as the nation's top player. He was drafted by the Utah Jazz and chosen Rookie of the Year for the 1980-1981 season. For more see Darrell Griffith on Basketball-Reference.com; Darrell Griffith in Basketball: a biographical dictionary by D. L. Porter, pp.177-178; and Darrell Griffith on p.392 in The Kentucky Encyclopedia.


Subjects: Basketball, Olympics: Athletes, Games, Events
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Utah

Hamilton, James, Jr. "Joe"
Birth Year : 1948
Hamilton was born in Lexington, KY. He was an All-American high school basketball player at old Dunbar, coached by S. T. Roach. Hamilton was a 5 foot 10 inch guard who played college ball at Christian College of the Southwest, where he was a two-time Junior College All American. [Read more about the junior college in The Handbook of Texas Online.] At North Texas State [now University of North Texas] he was a two-time All-Missouri Valley Conference Player. Hamilton was also selected as an alternate on the 1968 U.S. Olympics Basketball Team. In 1970, he was drafted by the Texas Chaparrals, an ABA team. He was a member of the San Antonio Spurs, also an ABA team, during the 1973-74 season, before being traded to the Kentucky Colonels. He played for the Utah Stars 1975-76. For more see the James "Joe" Hamilton, Jr. entry in the Afro-American Encyclopedia; the Joe Hamilton entry at databaseBasketball.com; and the Texas Chaparrals at remembertheaba.com.
Subjects: Basketball, Olympics: Athletes, Games, Events
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette 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

Murphy, Donna L.
Birth Year : 1958
Born in Kansas, Donna L. Murphy grew up in Newport, KY. She was the 1974 Class 2A state high jump champion and played forward for the Newport women's basketball team. In her first Girls Sweet Sixteen Tournament, in 1975, she scored 42 points and had 25 rebounds in the first game. In 1976, the 5'10" forward was the first to be named Miss Kentucky Basketball. She was one of two high school students invited to tryout for the 1976 U.S. Olympic women's basketball team. Murphy played college ball at Morehead State University (KY) from 1977-1980, scoring 2,059 points and collecting 1,439 rebounds. In 1995 she was inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame; in 1999 she was the first woman to have her jersey retired at Morehead State University. Murphy played professional ball with the St. Louis Streak and later became head coach at a number of colleges. She was the women's basketball coach at Lexington Christian Academy (KY), 2004-2006. For more see 2003 NCAA Women's Basketball Records Book; M. Story, "Forward Helped Girls' Basketball Return with Bang," Lexington Herald-Leader, 07/25/99, Special section, p. 13; and the 2010 interview "Donna LJ Murphy," program #536 [available online] on Connections With Renee Shaw at Kentucky Educational Television (KET).

See photo image and additional information about Donna L. Murphy in "Friends of 44 are friends indeed" at the "What's Up With Merlene?" blog, 06/08/2009.
Subjects: Basketball, Women's Groups and Organizations, Olympics: Athletes, Games, Events
Geographic Region: Kansas / Newport, Campbell County, Kentucky

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

 

Return to the search page.