African Americans in sports

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    20th century African Americans in Sports

  • Frederick Douglass Pollard

    Frederick Douglass Pollard
    In 1916, Fritz Pollard became the first African American to play in the Rose Bowl and the first to be named All-American. He went on to a seven-year career in the NFL with Akron Pros as player. In 1923, he made another breakthrough when named head coach of the Akron Pros. He would be the only African-American head coach in NFL history until 1989, three years after his death.
  • Louise Stokes and Tydia Pickett

    Louise Stokes and Tydia Pickett
    Louise Stokes and Tydia Pickett were the first African-American women to be included on a U.S. Olympic team. Both qualified for track and field events; however, they remained on the bench because the coach entered only white team members in the events. Unfortunately, Both never participated in the olympic games. Both however, broke ground for more African Americans to participate in olympics amongst white athletes.
  • Kenny Washington

    Kenny Washington
    In college at UCLA, he rushed for 1,914 yards in his college career, a school record for 34 years. He was one of four African American players on the 1939 UCLA Bruins football team, the others being Woody Strode, Jackie Robinson and Ray Bartlett. The Los Angeles Rams became the first integrated team in the NFL when they signed Kenny Washington. On May 7, 1947, they signed a second African-American player, Woody Strode
  • Donald Barksdale

    Donald Barksdale
    UCLA's Donald Barksdale, the first African American named to a U.S. Olympic basketball team, went on to win a gold medal.n 1951, he signed a lucrative contract with the Baltimore Bullets and entered the NBA as a 28-year-old rookie. He would be the third African-American to sign an NBA contract after Chuck Cooper joined Boston and Earl Lloyd signed with Washington. While with the Bullets, he became the first African American to appear in an NBA All-Star Game in the 1953 NBA All-Star Game. Shortly
  • Joe Louis

    Joe Louis
    Boxer Joe Louis became the first African American to play in a PGA sanctioned event.Initially, the PGA of America was reluctant to allow Louis to enter the event, having a bylaw at the time limiting PGA participation to Caucasians. However, Louis's celebrity eventually pushed the PGA toward removing the bylaw, paving the way for the first generation of African-American professional golfers such as Calvin Peete.
  • James Harris

    James Harris
    James Harris became the first African-American quarterback to be a starter in the NFL, throwing for the Los Angeles Rams.Harris was drafted in the eighth round of the Common Draft by the American Football League's Buffalo Bills, and would soon join fellow rookie O.J. Simpson in the starting backfield. Continuing the American Football League's more liberal (than the NFL's) personnel policies, the Bills made Harris the first black player to start a season at quarterback and the second black player
  • Greg Gibson

    Greg Gibson
    Greg Gibson was the first African-American Greco-Roman wrestler (220 pounds) to medal, winning the silver.After college, Gibson won World medals in all three styles of international wrestling -- Greco-Roman, Sombo and freestyle. Gibson won three World Championships medals in freestyle, and three World Cup titles: freestyle in 1980, Greco-Roman in 1984 and 1985.
  • Eldrick T. Woods

    Eldrick T. Woods
    In 1997, California-born Tiger Woods became the first golfer of African-American heritage to win the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia. He also became the first African-American golfer to win the PGA Championship, the U.S. Open, and the British Open. In capturing the Masters for a second time in 2001, Woods completed golf's Grand Slam to become the only golfer ever to hold all four majors championships at the same time.
  • Dain Blanton

    Dain Blanton
    Dain Blanton won the professional beach volleyball championship in the AVP finals in 1997. He was also the first African American to win a gold medal in beach volleyball, in the Sydney Olympics of 2000.He returned to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece with partner Jeff Nygaard, becoming the first and only two-time U.S. male Beach Volleyball Olympian.He is known for his fast serve holding the AVP record for 11 aces in a single game to 15 in Vail, Colorado in 1997.
  • Anthony Ervin

    Anthony Ervin
    The first African-American U.S. Olympic swim team qualifier and gold medalist in a swimming event was Anthony Ervin. Before a crowd at the Sydney, Australia, swimming venue, he won the 50-meter freestyle.He also was on the silver medal winning men's 4×100 m freestyle relay.The American team ended up finishing in 2nd place with a time of 3:13.86 behind Australia, who finished in a world record time of 3:13.67. In the final of the 50 m freestyle, Ervin tied Gary Hall Jr. for the gold with a tim