Sports - Men

Arthur Robert Ashe Jr.
July 10, 1943 to February 6, 1993

Arthur Ashe Championships


Singles Tennis Champion

Ranked Number One in the World: 1968 and 1975

Won U.S. Open: 1968, Wimbledon: 1975

Won Australian Open: 1970

WCT Finals: 1975

Won U.S. Clay Court Championship: 1963

Won U.S. Hard Court Championship: 1963

Member U.S. Davis Cup Team: 1963, 1965-1970, 1975, 1977, 1978

Captain U.S. Davis Cup Team: 1981-1985.

L: Grave monument. R: Arthur Ashe’s grave and the grave of his mother, Mattie C. Ashe.


"Arthur Ashe.", Web. 

Site Visit
Arthur Ashe gravesite. Woodlawn Cemetery, Richmond, VA. 


Woodlawn Cemetery, 2300 Magnolia Road, Richmond, VA 23223. Phone: 804-643-4702. Contact person Mr. Entzminger.

Joseph Louis "Joe Louis" Barrow
May 13, 1914 to April 12, 1981

Joe Louis Heavyweight Boxing Champion from 1937 to 1949. He had 25 successful title defenses and participated in a record 27 championship fights. He was also the first African American to play in a PGA sanctioned tournament at the 1952 San Diego Open.

Joe Louis vs Max Schmeling 1936. Courtesy of the Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-114335.

Second L: Headstone front. R: Headstone back. 

Appiah, Kwame, Anthony and Gates, Henry Louis, ed. "Africana The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience." 1st ed. New York: Civitas, 1999. Print.

Stewart, Jeffrey C. "1001 Things Everyone Should Know About African American History." New York: Broadway. Reprinted 2001. Print.

"The Fight.",  Web. 
Shwartz, Larry., Web. 

Site Visit
Gravesite. Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA. 



Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA.

James Thomas "Cool Papa" Bell
May 17, 1901 to March 7, 1991

Known as the fastest man ever to play baseball, Cool Papa Bell's baseball career spanned 28 years. Nicknamed "Cool Papa" for his composure under pressure and calm demeanor Bell pitched, played first base and left field. He threw left-handed and was a switch hitter.  He is best known for his speed as a centerfielder and base runner.  Bell was once clocked circling the bases in an amazing 11 seconds. An often-told story reported Bell could turn the lights out in his bedroom and be in bed before it got dark.  

Bell played with several Negro Major League Teams: St. Louis Stars (1922-1931), Detroit Wolves (1932), Kansas City Monarchs (1932-1934), Homestead Grays (1932 and 1943-1946), Pittsburgh Crawfords (1933-1938), Memphis Red Sox (1942), Santo Domingo (1937), the Mexican League (1938-1941), Chicago American Giants (1942), Detroit Senators (1947) and Kansas City Stars (1948-1950).

Inscribed on the memorial are the words:


Cool Papa Bell a loyal gentlemen with dignity humility & generosity
Dearly loved and respected
Scholar & philosopher of baseball
1974 National Baseball Hall of Famer

Professional Baseball Career
1922 – 1950 in the Negro Major League
Began his career with the St. Louis Stars
Before the integration of baseball endured overwhelming injustices

Played managed coached scouted

Paved the way for Black baseball players to compete in today’s game
Discovered developed & helped many players to go into the White League

Greatest center-fielder in baseball
A speedster-hitter & Bunting-specialist
Lifetime batting average .419

Clocked circling the bases in 11 seconds
His record still unbroken when he died

Traveled continuously captivating millions playing professional baseball
29 summers & 21 winters
U.S.A. Canada & Latin America

Among Bell’s Honors  8 Halls of Fame  1 Walk of Fame  2 Streets  1 Stadium and   a Baseball League named in his honor

Cool Papa a genuine treasure
Honored world - wide
Refused to let Racism or Segregation discourage him
He became a universal Legend

Beloved Papa
With love I give you this memorial
I will forever be your #1 fan
Your loving daughter Connie

"Some people say I was born too soon, but that’s not true.  They opened the doors too late."  "Cool Papa" Bell

"My husband and I shared a wonderful life together."  Clara Bell

"I did the best I could with what I had."  "Cool Papa" Bell

Top: James Thomas "Cool Papa" Bell courtesy of Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. 
Second and Bottom: James Thomas "Cool Papa" Bell Headstone. 
Color photos taken  May 1, 2013. Black and white Public Domain.


Riley, James A. "The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues." New York: Carroll and Graf, 1994. Print.

"Cool Papa Bell.",  Web.


"Cool Papa Bell", Web. 

“Robert Roy Brit" Baseball Science:  Perfect Base Running,, Web. 

There was always Sun Shining Someplace. Dir. Craig Davidson. Refocus Films, 1984. Film.

Site Visit
Gravesite. Calvary Cemetery. St. Louis, MO.


Calvary Cemetery, 5239 West Florissant Avenue, at Union Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63115. Phone: 314-792-7738.

Leonard K. Bias
November 18, 1963 to June 19, 1986

Considered by many to be the best basketball player to come out of the University of Maryland. Some compared him to Michael Jordan. On June 17, 1986, the Boston Celtics chose him in the first round of the NBA draft. He was the second overall player picked. Two days later, he died of a cocaine overdose.
Basketball honors include:

- Consensus Second Team All American 1985
- Consensus Second Team All American 1986
- ACC Player of the year 1984-85
- ACC Player of the year 1985-86
- Second Player Picked (Boston Celtics) in the First Round of the 1986 NBA Draft.

Len Bias grave marker. 

Cruz, Abbey., Web. 

Site Visit
Len Bias gravesite. Lincoln Memorial Cemetery. Suitland, MD. 


Lincoln Memorial Cemetery, 4001 Suitland Road, Suitland, Maryland 20746. Phone: 301-568-8410.

Joshua "Josh" Gibson
December 21, 1911 to January 20, 1947

Considered one of the greatest home run hitters in Negro League and Major League Baseball, Josh Gibson was credited with 962 home runs in his seventeen-year career from 1929 to 1946. He played with the Homestead Grays (1929 to 1931 and 1937 to 1940), Pittsburgh Crawfords (1932 to 1936), Ciudad Trujillo in the Dominican, the Mexican League and the Cuban Winter League.

Gibson stood 6’ 1’’ and at the peak of his career weighed 210 pounds. He batted and threw right-handed, played catcher and when needed first and third base.

Josh was a powerful hitter with strong forearms that smacked balls over the outfield walls. He often hit homeruns more than 500 feet. He is reported to have hit the longest homerun in Yankee Stadium, 580 feet, several feet more than the longest home run hit by Babe Ruth. He led the Negro League in home runs for ten consecutive years and in 1931 was reported to have hit 75 homeruns.

One of the folkloric stories told about Josh was that in a game in Pittsburgh he hit a homerun so far that it soared over the fence and out of site. The next day in Philadelphia, a ball fell from the sky into an outfielder’s glove at which time the umpire yelled out to Josh, “You’re out, yesterday in Pittsburgh!”.

Josh completed five years of elementary school when his father found employment in North Pittsburgh as a laborer with Carnegie-Illinois Steel. The eldest of three children he and his family moved north. Once in Pittsburgh, he enrolled in Allegheny Prevocational School to study being an electrician. In the ninth grade while learning to be an apprentice in an air brake factory, he dropped out of school. In 1927, he began playing for a Pittsburgh minor team, the Pleasant Valley Red Sox. He later joined the Pittsburgh Crawfords.

Josh Gibson died of a stroke in 1947, just three months before Jackie Robinson became the first Black to play in modern Major League Baseball. Some say that he died of a broken heart, having never had the opportunity to play in the major league. In 1972, Josh became the second player from Negro League Baseball to be inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. The first was Satchel Paige.

 In researching the history of Josh Gibson, I had the great fortune of meeting and being assisted by Mark Davis, Family Service Counselor at Allegheny Cemetery, 4734 Butler Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201, (412)-622-2000 Ext.151. Mark helped me locate Josh Gibson's grave and several other people in a very large cemetery. His assistance made my research that much easier. Percy White, Historian.

Top: Josh Gibson.

Bottom L: Sign pointing to grave. R: Grave marker. 


Davis, Mark. Allegheny Cemetery. Pittsburgh, PA.  Discussion.



Josh Gibson,, Web

Riley, James A. "The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues." New York: Carroll and Graf, 1994. Print.

Site Visit
Gravesite. Allegheny Cemetery. Pittsburgh, PA. 


Allegheny Cemetery, 4734 Butler Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201. Phone: 412-622-2000

John Jordan "Buck" O'Neil
November 13, 1911 to October 6, 2006

John Jordan O’Neil was born November 13, 1911, in Carrabelle, FL. At the age of 12 O’Neil and his family moved to Sarasota, FL where he worked in the celery fields as a laborer. He tried attending Sarasota High School but was not allowed due to his race. He relocated to Jacksonville, FL and enrolled in Edward Waters College. While there, O'Neil earned a high school diploma and completed two years of college. He left college early to play professional baseball.

O’Neil began his baseball career playing with the Miami Giants in 1934. He was given the nickname "Buck" when he was mistaken for Buck O’Neil, an executive of a different team. As a first baseman and outfielder, O’Neil won four consecutive Negro American League Pennants, 1939 to 1942. He appeared in three East West All Star games as a member of the West team. In 1946, he won the Negro Leagues’ batting title with a .353 average and led the Monarchs to their fifth pennant. From 1948 to 1955, he managed the Monarchs team.

O’Neil played on several Negro League teams: Miami Giants renamed by owner Syd Pollock to the Ethiopian Clowns (1934), New York Tigers (1935), Shreveport Acme Giants (1936), Memphis Red Sox (1937), Zulu Cannibal Giants (1937), Kansas City Monarchs (1938 to 1943 and 1946 to 1955), the Cuban Winter League (1946 to 1947), and the Mexican League (1951). O’Neil served in the Navy (1943 to 1945). He never played major league baseball.

In 1953, the Chicago Cubs hired O’Neil as a part time scout. He is credited with getting Ernie Banks and Lou Brock to sign with Cubs. In 1962, he became the first African American coach in the Major Leagues with the Chicago Cubs.

O’Neil’s popularity soared in 1994 after appearing in Ken Burns’ documentary "Baseball." In his later years he was a promoter and historian of Negro Leagues Baseball. O'Neil died October 6, 2006. In 2008, the National Baseball Hall of Fame posthumously honored John Jordan "Buck" O'Neil with the creation of the Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award.

Top L: John "Buck" O'Neil courtesy of Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. R: Buck O'Neil memorial.

Bottom L: Buck O'Neil memorial. R: Gravesite. 


"Buck O'Neil", Web. 


"Buck O'Neil",'neil. Web. 

"Buck O'Neil", Web. 


Riley, James A. "The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues." New York: Carroll and Graf,
1994. Print.                        

There was always Sun Shining Someplace. Dir. Craig Davidson. Refocus Films, 1984. Film.

Site Visit
Gravesite. Forest Hill Cemetery, 6901 Troost Avenue, Kansas City, MO. 



Forest Hill Cemetery, 6901 Troost Avenue, Kansas City, MO  64131. Phone:  816-523-2114.

Leroy Robert "Satchel Paige"
July 7, 1906 to June 8, 1982

Joe DiMaggio called Satchel Paige,  

          "The best I ever faced, and the fastest."

Reports of Paige's legendary pitching skills were well earned. Paige often pulled in the outfielders and had them sit behind the mound as he struck out the side with the tying runner on base. Promoted as a guarantee to strike out the first nine batters, Paige usually lived up to the promise. Pitcher Dizzy Dean said, 

          “I know whose the best pitcher I ever see and it’s old Satchel Page, the big lanky colored boy. Say, old Diz
           is pretty fast back in 1933 and 1934, and you know my fast ball looks like a change of pace alongside that
           little pistol bullet old Satchel shoots up to the plate….It’s too bad those colored boys don’t play in the big
           leagues, because they sure got some great players.”

Dean also said, 

           “If Old Satchel and I played together, we’d clinch the pennant mathematically by the Fourth of July and go
            fishin’ until the World Series. Between us we’d win sixty games.”
Paige became the first Black pitcher in major league baseball as a member of the 1948 Cleveland Indians. He won Rookie of the Year honors at age forty-two, earning himself the distinction of oldest major league player to win the designation.  He was the first Black player to pitch in a World Series. The oldest player to ever pitch in a major league game at fifty-nine, Paige allowed only one hit in three innings.  In 1971, he become the first Black player from Negro Leagues Baseball inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame.                        

Paige played with several Negro Major Leagues Teams: Chattanooga Black Lookouts (1926-1927), Birmingham Black Barons (1927-1930), Baltimore Black Sox (1930), Cleveland Cubs (1931), Pittsburgh Crawfords (1931-1937), Kansas City Monarchs (1935-1936, 1939-1948, 1950 and 1955), Santo Domingo (1937), Santo Domingo All-Stars (1937), Newark Eagles (1938), Mexican League (1938), Satchel Paige All-Stars (1939), New York Black Yankees (1943), Memphis Red Sox (1943), and Philadelphia Stars (1946 and 1950. Major League: Cleveland Indians (1948-1950), St. Louis Browns (1951 to 1953 and 1965), and Kansas City Athletics (1965), MLB All-Star Game (1952), Negro Leagues: Chicago American Giants (1951). Minor Leagues (1956-1958, 1961, and 1965-1966). Negro Leagues: Indianapolis Clowns (1967).

Inscribed on the memorial are the words:


He began work carrying suitcases at Mobile Union Station and devised a sling harness for hustling several bags
at once.  The other Red Caps said he looked like a "Walking Satchel Tree".  Thus Leroy became Satchel and
Satchel became legend.


1  Avoid fried meats which angry up the blood.
2  If your stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts.
3  Keep the fluids flowing by jangling around gently as you move.
4  Go very light on the vices, such as caring on in society. The social ramble ain't stressful.
5  Avoid running at times.
6  Don't look back.  Something might be gaining on you.


Rose above humble beginnings of his native Mobile, Alabama childhood to become a national treasure and a universal sports hero. Among the most illustrious sports in the history of baseball. For 39 summers, and as many winters, he traveled endlessly throughout the United States, Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic thrilling millions with his extraordinary pitching feats  to become the most celebrated moundsman in the history of our national past time. Everyone knew him as "Satchel" Paige, a legend in life and immortal in death.

He began a twenty-seven-year career with the Kansas City Monarchs and made this his home.  Three biggest moment sin his baseball career... Pitched a 5-0 shutout for Cleveland against Chicago in 1948: When he was inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame in 1971:  He attended the dedication of Satchel Paige Stadium here just three days before he died. 

Top: Leroy Robert "Satchel Paige" courtesy of Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. 
Second, Third and Bottom: Satchel Paige Headstone. 

Riley, James A. "The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues." New York: Carroll and Graf, 1994. Print.

Smith, Jessie Carney "Black Firsts." Detroit: Gale Research, 1994. Print.

"Barnstorming Aces Satchel Paige and Dizzy Dean",  Web.                      

"Negro Leagues", Web.                     

"Paige Never Looked Back", Web. 

"Satchel Paige"  Web.  

There was always Sun Shining Someplace. Dir. Craig Davidson. Refocus Films, 1984. Film.

Site Visit
Gravesite. Forest Hill Cemetery, 6901 Troost Avenue, Kansas City, MO. 


Forest Hill Cemetery, 6901 Troost Avenue, Kansas City, MO  64131. Phone:  816-523-2114.

Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson
January 31, 1919 to October 24, 1972

Jackie Robinson became the first Black player in major league baseball during the modern era. In 1878, John W. “Bud” Fowler arguably became the first known Black professional baseball player prior to the current league's organization.

Born the son of sharecroppers on January 31, 1919, in Cairo, GA, Jackie grew up in difficult financial times. His father, Jerry Robinson left the family shortly after Jackie was born leaving his mother, Mallie Robinson to raise five children on her own.

Jackie excelled in high school and college sports. He attended Pasadena Community College and in 1939 transferred to UCLA where he became the first athlete in the school’s history to earn a varsity letter in four sports: baseball, basketball, football, and track. He earned All-American honors in football. Jackie left college in 1941 due to financial issues experienced by his family. After college, he played two seasons of professional football with the Los Angeles Bulldogs.

On April 3, 1942, Jackie was inducted into the United States Army. At the time, the U.S. Military was segregated and filled with the mistreatment of Black military personnel. After several months delay and with the backing of boxing champion Joe Louis, Jackie was admitted into Officer Candidate School. Upon completion, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant.

While stationed at Camp Hood in Texas, later known as Ft. Hood, Jackie was Court Martialed for refusing to move to the back of a public bus. Civilian bus lines had the contract for transporting soldiers to and from the base. Jackie was also accused of disrespecting a captain and willful disobedience of a lawful command. See Letter to Assistant to the Secretary of War asking for advice, page one and page three. (Page two was not available.) On August 23, 1944, he was found not guilty of all charges: the verdict.

Jackie coached basketball at Sam Houston College during the 1944-1945 season. Early in 1945, he was hired to play for the negro league baseball team, the Kansas City Monarchs. He played only one season before Brooklyn Dodger's general manager, Branch Rickey, signed Jackie to a contract on October 23, 1945, with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Branch described the problems he faced and the events that influenced his decision to sign Jackie to a contract in a 1956 speech to the 100 Percent Wrong Club. The 100% Wrong Club was established in 1934 by 13 sports enthusiasts in the city of Atlanta for the purpose of recognizing collegiate athletes in the 1930's and 1940's.

Jackie began his major league career with the Dodger’s Triple A minor league team, the Montreal Royals where he played shortstop. On opening day on April 18, 1946, he hit a three-run homer, four singles, stole two bases, and batted in four runs in a 14-1 victory over the Jersey City Giants. His baseball skills helped the Royals win the “Little World Series” and he was immediately called up to the major league with the Dodgers.

On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson began his major league career with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He played second base.  In his first season with the Dodgers, he was voted Rookie of the Year and was instrumental in his team winning the National League Pennant. In 1949, he won the batting title with a .342 average, led the league in stolen bases with 37, and hit 16 homeruns. He also had 124 runs batted in, led the Dodgers to another pennant, and was voted National League Most Valuable Player. With the assistance of Jackie’s hitting and base stealing, the Dodgers won two more pennants and in 1955 they beat the NY Yankees to win the World Series. Jackie retired from baseball on January 5, 1957, after learning about his impending trade to the baseball NY Giants. Five years later in 1962, he was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Top: L: 
Jackie Robinson with the Kansas City Monarchs, courtesy of the Library of Congress, American Memory, Reproduction number LC-USZ62-119886 DLC (b&w film copy neg.). R: Front of Jackie Robinson comic book, courtesy of the Library of Congress, American Memory, Reproduction number LC-USZC4-6147 DLC (color film copy transparency). 

Second L: Back of Jackie Robinson comic book, courtesy of the Library of Congress, American Memory, Reproduction number LC-USZC4-6144 DLC (color film copy transparency). R: Jackie in Dodger's uniform, courtesy of the Library of Congress, American Memory, Reproduction number LC-L9-54-3566-O, #17 DLC (b&w film neg.) 
Third L:
 Family plot. R: Headstone.                       
Fouth L: Mother-in-law, Zellee Isum. R: Jackie Robinson. 

Bottom: Son, Jackie Robinson Jr.  

Riley, James A. “The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues.”1st ed. New York: Carroll and
Graf Publishers Inc., 1994. Print.
Smith Jessie Carnie, ed. “Black Firsts - 2000 Years of Extraordinary Achievement”. Detroit: Gale Research Inc. 1994. Print.

“1946: Jackie Robinson debuts with Montreal Royals”, Web. 

Brian McKenna, “Bud Fowler, Society for American Baseball Research", Web.

“Bio. True Story - Jackie Robinson Biography”,, Web 

“Bob Gill”, The Coffin Corner: Vol. 9, No. 3 (1987) - Jackie Robinson: Pro Football Prelude, Pro Football . Web.

“Breaking the Color Line: 1940-1946", Web. 

“Jackie Robinson’s Early Life”, html, Web. 

"Jackie Robinson." Web. 

“John Vernon”, National Archives: Spring 2008, Vol. 40, No. 1, Jim Crow, Meet Lieutenant Robinson - A 1944
Court-Martial, Web. 

Site Visit
Jackie Robinson gravesite. Cypress Hill Cemetery. Brooklyn, NY 11208. 


Cypress Hill Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY.

Wendell O. Scott Sr.
August 29, 1921 to December 23, 1990

On April 5, 2013, a dedication ceremony was held to reveal the newly erected Wendell O. Scott Sr. History Marker. Richard Pryor portrayed Scott in the movie Greased Lightning. Inscribed on the History Marker are the words:

On 1 Dec. 1963 in Jacksonville, Florida, Wendell O. Scott Sr. became the first African American to win a NASCAR Grand National race. He lived here in the house he built after his return from World War II. Persevering over prejudice and discrimination, Scott broke racial barriers in NASCAR, with a 13-year career that included 20 top five and 147 top ten finishes.  He retired in 1973 after an injury suffered during a race in Talladega, Alabama. The International Motor-sports Hall of Fame, among 13 halls of fame, has inducted him as a member.

Top L:
 Painting of Wendell Scott on the garage door. R: Scott's home and garage.                       
Second L, R:
 History Marker. 

Bottom: Scott's gravesite. 

Smith Jessie Carnie, ed. “Black Firsts - 2000 Years of Extraordinary Achievement”. Detroit: Gale Research Inc.
1994. Print.

"Wendell Scott.", Web. 

"Wendell Scott Foundation.", Web. 
Site Visit
Wendell Scott History Marker. Danville, VA. 
Wendell Scott's Former Home. Danville, VA. 
Wendell Scott gravesite. Cunningham Cemetery. Danville, VA. 


Cunningham Cemetery, Danville, VA

Joseph "Smokey Joe" Williams

April 6, 1886 to February 25, 1951

Joseph “Smokey Joe” Williams stood 6’ feet 4” inches tall and weighed 200 pounds. He threw with such power and control that he was nicknamed “Cyclone”. Williams was considered by many to be the forerunner to Satchel Page. Ty Cobb, a man not known to be friendly to African Americans, considered him a 30-game winner if allowed to play in the major league. In 1930, Williams struck out 27 Kansas City Monarchs and threw a one-hitter in a 12-inning game.

Williams played for more than 20 years, from 1910 to 1932 with the San Antonio Black BroncosChicago Leland GiantsNew York Lincoln GiantsChicago American GiantsAtlantic City Bacharach GiantsBrooklyn Royal GiantsHomestead Grays and Detroit Wolves. In 1999, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Top L: 
Smokey Joe, courtesy of  R: Gravestone of Smokey Joe Williams. 



Joseph "Smokey Joe" Williams,, Web.


Joseph "Smokey Joe" Williams,, Web.


Joseph "Smokey Joe" Williams,, Web.

Riley, James A. "The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues." New York: Carroll and Graf, 1994. Print.

Site Visit
Joseph "Smokey Joe" Williams gravesite. Lincoln Memorial Cemetery. Suitland, MD. 


Lincoln Memorial Cemetery, 4001 Suitland Road, Suitland, Maryland 20746. Phone: 301-568-8410.


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