Black pioneers in sports

The final refrain of Martin Luther King Jr.'s most famous speech will echo around the world as bells from churches, schools and historical monuments "let freedom ring" in celebration of a powerful moment in civil rights history, 50 years ago today.




Organizers said sites in nearly every state will ring their bells at 3 p.m. their time Wednesday or at 3 p.m. EDT, the hour when King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington on August 28, 1963.

Associated Press


We would like to honor this historic day by saluting some of the Black pioneers in the world of sports. These athletes broke barriers and paved the way for everyone.

Jackie Robinson: First black player in Major League Baseball.
Jackie Robinson
Jackie Robinson: First black player in Major League Baseball.
Larry Doby: First black player in American League.<br><br>
Larry Doby: First black player in American League.
Larry Doby: First black player in American League.

Vonetta Flowers: First black athlete to win Olympic gold in the Winter Games.
Vonetta Flowers: First black woman to win Olympic gold in the Winter Games.
Vonetta Flowers: First black athlete to win Olympic gold in the Winter Games.
Shani Davis: First black athlete to win Olympic individual gold in Winter Games.
Shani Davis: First to win Olympic individual gold in Winter Games.
Shani Davis: First black athlete to win Olympic individual gold in Winter Games.
Althea Gibson: First black tennis player to win a grand slam title.
Althea Gibson: First to win a grand slam title.
Althea Gibson: First black tennis player to win a grand slam title.
Arthur Ashe: First black man to win grand slam title.
Arthur Ashe: First black man to win grand slam title.
Arthur Ashe: First black man to win grand slam title.
Will Robinson: First black division 1 coach.
Will Robinson: First division 1 coach.
Will Robinson: First black division 1 coach.
Robert Johnson: First black majority owner of major pro franchise.
Robert Johnson: First black majority owner of major pro franchise.
Robert Johnson: First black majority owner of major pro franchise.
Frank Robinson: First black manager in the major leagues.
Frank Robinson: First black manager in the major leagues.
Frank Robinson: First black manager in the major leagues.
Don Newcombe: First black player to win the Cy Young award.
Don Newcombe: First black player to win the Cy Young award.
Don Newcombe: First black player to win the Cy Young award.
Willie O'Ree: First black player in the NHL.
Willie O'Ree: First black player in the NHL.
Willie O'Ree: First black player in the NHL.
Buck O'Neil: First black coach in baseball.<br><br>
Buck O'Neil: First black coach.
Buck O'Neil: First black coach in baseball.

Bill Russell: First black coach; later first black player inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Bill Russell: First black coach; later first black player inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Bill Russell: First black coach; later first black player inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Satchel Paige: First black pitcher in Hall of Fame.
Satchel Paige: First pitcher in Hall of Fame.
Satchel Paige: First black pitcher in Hall of Fame.
Jimmy Winkfield: First black jockey to win Kentucky Derby.<br><br>
Jimmy Winkfield: First to win Kentucky Derby.
Jimmy Winkfield: First black jockey to win Kentucky Derby.

Earl Lloyd: First black player to play in NBA.
Earl Lloyd: First black player to play in NBA.
Earl Lloyd: First black player to play in NBA.
Wayne Embry: First black GM.
Wayne Embry: First black GM.
Wayne Embry: First black GM.
Ozzie Newsome: First black GM.
Ozzie Newsome: First black GM.
Ozzie Newsome: First black GM.
Tiger Woods: First black golfer to win a major.
Tiger Woods: First black golfer to win a major.
Tiger Woods: First black golfer to win a major.
Ernie Davis: First black football player to win a Heisman.
Ernie Davis: First black football player to win a Heisman.
Ernie Davis: First black football player to win a Heisman.
Charlie Sifford: First black golfer to earn PGA Tour card.
Charlie Sifford: First black golfer to earn PGA Tour card.
Charlie Sifford: First black golfer to earn PGA Tour card.
Tiger Woods: First black golfer to win a major.
Tiger Woods: First black golfer to win a major.
Tiger Woods: First black golfer to win a major.
Lee Elder: First black golfer to appear in Masters.
Lee Elder: First black golfer to appear in Masters.
Lee Elder: First black golfer to appear in Masters.
Elston Howard: First black AL MVP.
Elston Howard: First black AL MVP.
Elston Howard: First black AL MVP.
Nat Clifton: First black player to sign an NBA contract.
Nat Clifton: First black player to sign an NBA contract.
Nat Clifton: First black player to sign an NBA contract.
Art Shell: First black head coach.
Art Shell: First black head coach.
Art Shell: First black head coach.
Franco Harris: First black Super Bowl MVP.
Franco Harris: First black Super Bowl MVP.
Franco Harris: First black Super Bowl MVP.
Doug Williams: First black quarterback to start in and win a Super Bowl.
Doug Williams: First black quarterback to start in and win a Super Bowl.
Doug Williams: First black quarterback to start in and win a Super Bowl.
Jack Johnson: First black heavyweight champ.
Jack Johnson: First black heavyweight champ.
Jack Johnson: First black heavyweight champ.
Texas Western: First all-black starting lineup in national championship game.
Texas Western: First all-black starting lineup in national championship game.
Texas Western: First all-black starting lineup in national championship game.

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