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Black Facts for November 27th

1997 - Buck Leonard

Buck Leonard , byname of Walter Fenner Leonard (born September 8, 1907, Rocky Mount, North Carolina, U.S.—died November 27, 1997, Rocky Mount), American baseball player who was considered one of the best first basemen in the Negro leagues. He was among the first Negro leaguers to receive election into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Leonard, a left-handed hitter, was a semiprofessional player for several years in North Carolina before losing his job with a railroad and deciding to pursue full-time professional baseball in 1933. That year he played with the Portsmouth Firefighters, the Baltimore Stars, and the Brooklyn Royal Giants. He signed with the Homestead Grays in 1934 and played 17 years with them, through the 1950 season.

Leonard and catcher Josh Gibson led the Grays to nine consecutive Negro National League championships from 1937 through 1945. The Grays won a 10th pennant and their third Negro World Series title in 1948. Leonard was selected to start in the East-West All-Star game a record 11 times. He finished his Negro league career with a batting average of about .341 and a .382 mark against major leaguers in exhibition games.

In 1943 Leonard was part of Satchel Paige’s All-Stars, playing against major league All-Stars and hitting .500 in eight games. But it was home runs that made Leonard and Gibson the most-feared tandem in the Negro leagues, much like Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth of the major league New York Yankees. Clark Griffith, the owner of the Washington Senators of the major leagues, considered signing the pair but never did. After Homestead disbanded, Leonard played five more years, in Mexico and also with Portsmouth, until 1955, when he was 48 years old.

Leonard was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972, along with Gibson, his longtime teammate. Leonard served as vice president of the Rocky Mount Leafs in the Class-A Carolina League.

1927 - Adams, John H. (1927-- )

Clergyman and civil rights activist John Hurst Adams was born November 27, 1927 in Columbia, South Carolina to Reverend E.A. Adams and homemaker Charity Nash Adams.  John Adams graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in Columbia, South Carolina and in 1947 earned an A.B. degree in history from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Later, he earned his Bachelor of Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) degree and Master of Sacred Theology (S.T.M.) degree from Boston (Massachusetts) University School of Theology in 1952 and 1956, respectively. Adams also studied at Harvard University and Union Theological Seminary, as well. He attended Boston University for his theology degree at the same time as Rev. Martin Luther King.  After completing his education at Boston University, Adams served briefly on the teaching faculty of Payne Theological Seminary at Wilberforce University in Ohio. Then in 1956 he was named president of Paul Quinn College in Waco, Texas at age 29.  At the time he was the youngest person named to the presidency of Paul Quinn College and the youngest college or university president in the nation.  Adams remained at the institution until 1962.

Rev. Adams arrived in Seattle, Washington in 1962 to become the pastor of First African Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest black church in the state.  He held the pastorate from 1962 until 1968.   While at the church Adams became one of the leaders of the African American civil rights movement in Seattle.  He chaired the Central Area Civil Rights Committee from its founding in 1963 until 1968 and was a co-founder of the country’s first war on poverty agency, the Central Area Motivation Program (CAMP). Along with other local black leadership at that time, Adams participated in what he called “an inner circle” of local civil rights leaders whose coordinated leadership transformed Seattle’s community movement and politics.

While in Seattle, Adams won a number of awards for his staunch advocacy for racial justice.  The Seattle Chapter of B’nai