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Subjects of Don Sparks

Jackie Robinson - broke the color barrier as the first Black player in MLB (1947)

Buck O’Neil - ‘Soul of the Negro Leagues’, he was the first Black coach in MLB (Cubs 1962)

Frank Robinson - first Black manager in MLB (1975)
Also the only player to win MVP in both NL and AL

Bill Russell - 11x NBA champion and the first Black coach in the NBA (1966)
** Robinson and Russell attended McClymonds high school and played basketball together

Larry Doby - broke the MLB color barrier in the American League (3 months after Jackie Robinson)

Wilma Rudolph - first woman to win 3 gold medals in single Olympics (1960)

Bob Hayes - only person to win both an Olympic Gold medal and a Super Bowl ring

Wyomia Tyus - first person to retain their Olympic 100m Gold medal

Arthur Ashe - first Black to be selected to Davis Cup team,
and only Black to win the US Open, Wimbledon and Australian Open

Lee Elder - first Black to play in the Masters (1975) and Ryder Cup (1979)

Charlie Sifford - the ‘Jackie Robinson’ of golf, Sifford was the first Black
to play full-time on PGA tour (1961)

Pete Brown - first Black to win a PGA Tour event (Waco Open 1964)

Joe Louis - world heavyweight boxing champion, he was also an avid golfer and the
first Black to play in a PGA Tour event (San Diego Open 1952)

Calvin Peete - most PGA wins by a Black (12) prior to Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods - youngest (15) to win the US Junior Amateur championship,
he has gone on to claim 2nd most PGA tour and major championship wins

Martin Luther King Jr - civil rights leader who was the first president of the SCLC and
awarded  the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964

Maury Wills - first to steal 100 bases (1962)

Jim Brown - only player to average over 100 yds per game in their NFL career

Richard Hunt - artist/sculptor from Chicago’s South Side, he was youngest artist to exhibit at
Seattle World’s Fair (1962) and is one of the most publicly exhibited sculptors.

Willie Mays - 24x all-star, Mays played in the first all Black outfield in the 1951 World Series
with Monte Irvin and Hank Thompson

Wilt Chamberlain - only NBA player to score 100 points in a game (1962)

Condredge Holloway - first Black to start at QB in the SEC (1972)

Muhammad Ali - 3-time world heavyweight champion, whose prime years
were interrupted by his refusal to be drafted and subsequent conviction

Ralph Boston - world record long jumper, he was the first to surpass 27 feet

Bob Beamon - set the world record in the long jump by nearly 2 ft
at the 1968 Olympics, which stood for 23 years

Lenny Wilkins - HOF player and coach, he holds the record for most NBA regular season games coached (2487)

Madeline Manning - only American woman to win an Olympic Gold in the 800m (1968)

Lee Evans - world record holder and Olympic champion in the 400m, he was also one of the leaders
of the Olympic Project for Human Rights, which orchestrated the protests at the 1968 Olympic Games

John Carlos - world record holder in the 100 and 200m, he and Tommie Smith performed
the famous black power salute on the Olympic podium at the 1968 Olympics

Gale Sayers - scored an NFL rookie record 22 TD’s, including 6 against the 49ers,
on Dec. 12, 1965

Hank Aaron - broke Babe Ruth’s HR record in 1974, and his record 755 HR’s
at retirement stood for 33 years


Julius Erving - the only person to win an MVP in the ABA and NBA

Oscar Robertson - In 1962, he became the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double
for a season

Curt Flood - challenged MLB’s reserve clause in 1969, with a lawsuit advocating for free agency,
for which he was blackballed from MLB

Ernie Banks  - first Black player on the Cubs, and the first to win consecutive NL MVP awards

Elston Howard  - first Black player on the Yankees and later the first Black coach
in the American League.  In the Negro Leagues he played for Buck O’Neil on

the KC Monarchs and roomed with Ernie Banks

David Thompson - first pick in both the ABA and NBA drafts in 1975

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar  - the all-time NBA leader in points scored and career wins

Willye White - long jumper and sprinter, she was the first American track and field athlete to
take part in five Olympics, from 1956 to 1972

Moses Malone - the first high schooler in modern basketball to go directly to the pros

Texas Western - first team with all-black starting lineup (coached by Don Haskins)
to win the NCAA Basketball National Championship in 1966

Henry Lewis - the first Black to conduct a major symphony orchestra

Doris Brown - first woman to run a sub-5 minute mile indoors

Willie Davenport - the first Black to compete in the Winter Olympics

(1980 bobsled) for the USA

Jim Beatty - first person to break the 4 minute mile barrier indoors

Richard Ewell III & Michelle McCladdie - first Black couple to win the U.S. Figure Skating Championships

Mamie Rollins - first Black woman to coach at Ohio State University

Don Sparks Photography

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