Black History Month: Celebrating Those Who Came Before Us
Alice Coachman (1923 - 2014)
Growing up in Albany, Georgia, the up and coming track star got her start running on hard dusty dirt roads (sometimes barefoot) and jumping over makeshift hurdles. She was the first Black woman from any country to win an Olympic Gold Medal at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, where despite a back injury, she set the American and Olympic records with a successful first attempt at 5 feet and 6 1/8 inches. During her athletic career, she won 34 national titles, 10 of which were in the high jump. Upon return from the Olympics, she was honored with at 175-mile motorcade and was cheered by black and white supporters. She was the first Black female athlete to endorse an international product when she was signed to promote Coca-Cola. In 1975 she was officially inducted into the National Track-and-Field Hall of Fame, and in 2004 into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
February 15, 2021
Source: O The Oprah Magazine, January 2021, Olympic.org, United States Olympic and Paralympic Museum