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Black Facts for December 2nd

1908 - Taylor, John Baxter, Jr. (1882-1908)

The first African American to win an Olympic Gold Medal, John Baxter Taylor was born November 3, 1882, in Washington, D.C. He attended Central High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he ran track and was the only African American on the team. After graduating from high school in 1902, Taylor attended Brown Preparatory School for one year, running track for an undefeated team.

In the fall of 1903, Taylor enrolled in the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania. In spring 1904, he joined the varsity track team. In May 1904, at the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America (IC4A) championship, Taylor won the 440-yard run, breaking the intercollegiate record with a time of 49 1/5 seconds. In 1905, Taylor withdrew from school, returning in the fall in the School of Veterinary Medicine. Taylor returned to track in 1906 under trainer Michael Murphy. In 1907, at the IC4A championship, Taylor won the 440-yard race with a record of 48 4/5 seconds. In September, he won the 440-yard race at the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) championship. The following spring, despite a hernia, Taylor won his third quarter mile championship and anchored the one-mile relay. In June 1908, Taylor graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree from the School of Veterinary Medicine.

In July 1908, athletes gathered in London, UK for the Fourth Olympiad. John Taylor was the first African American to represent the United States in an international sports competition. The 5’11,’’ 160-pound Taylor ran with an eight-and-a-half foot stride. Taylor competed in a controversial 400-meter relay final. British officials called the race before the four competitors crossed the finish line asserting that one of the three Americans fouled the British runner. The Americans refused to run the race again and the British runner took gold.

Later that day, Taylor competed in the 1600-meter medley relay. The 1908 Olympiad was the first time athletes competed in this race that required different runners in the

1978 - Collins, Jason Paul (1978- )

Jason Collins, a NationalBasketball Association center, made history in May 2013 by becoming the first professionalathlete in a major American team sport to reveal his homosexuality in aninterview which appeared in Sports Illustratedmagazine.

The oldest by eight minutes, Jason and his twin brother Jarron were born inNorthridge, California to Paul and Portia Collins on December 2, 1978.  Jason and Jarron graduated from LosAngeles-based Harvard-Westlake School, a co-educational university preparatoryday school, in 1997. They also attended Stanford University, graduating in 2001where Jason earned All-American honors. In August 2013, three months afterpublicly revealing his sexual orientation, Collins was among the first class ofinductees into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame.

Collins joined the NBA in 2001 when he was a first-round draft pick (18thoverall) by the New Jersey Nets.  Heplayed with the Nets until 2008 when a series of trades moved him around theleague.  He played with the MemphisGrizzlies in 2008, the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2008-2009, the Atlanta Hawksfrom 2009 to 2012, and the Boston Celtics in 2012-2013. He was picked up by theWashington Wizards in 2013 but became a free agent in July 2013.  Since his declaration of his sexualorientation, Collins has not been signed to any other NBA team.

Collins’ aunt Teri Jackson, the first female African-American Superior CourtJudge in San Francisco, was also the first person to learn about hisrevelation, but as it turned out, she already knew, and persuaded him to comeout to the rest of the family, including a gay uncle and Jarron. After theinitial shock, Jason was embraced and supported by his family, NBA commissionerDavid Sterne, and a few fellow NBA players such as Kobe Bryant. He alsogarnered support from President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and ex-PresidentBill Clinton whose daughter Chelsea was a classmate of Collins’ at StanfordUniversity.

While it was not his goal to become the first openly gay athlete, Collins

1998 - Espy, Mike (1953- )

Alphonso Michael Espy in 1986 became the first black Congressman elected from Mississippi since John R. Lynch, who served during Reconstruction.  He was also the first African American to hold the post of Secretary of Agriculture.  Mike Espy was born in Yazoo City, Mississippi. He received a B.A. from Howard University in 1975 and then attended law school at the University of Santa Clara where he received his J.D. degree in 1978. Espy returned to Mississippi after law school and worked as an attorney for Central Mississippi Legal Services from 1978 to 1980.  Between 1980 and 1984 Espy served as assistant secretary of the Public Lands Division for the State of Mississippi and then took the post of assistant State Attorney General for Consumer Protection, a position he held until 1985.

The following year Mike Espy won the 2nd Congressional District seat which included much of the Mississippi Delta, becoming the only black Congressman to represent a predominately rural district.  Espy carried the vast majority of the black vote but also attracted significant white support which two previous African American candidates had failed to do.  Espy stressed economic development issues for his rural constituents and was often at odds with the Congressional Black Caucus.  He became, for example, the first black federal lawmaker to appear in an advertisement for the National Rifle Association. He also worked with then Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton to develop the centrist Democratic Leadership Council which most black lawmakers avoided.  Nonetheless Espy was reelected by his mostly black constituents three times.  

In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed Espy Secretary of the Department of Agriculture. During his tenure, he was credited with turning the USDA around and ushering a new wave of reform for the department. This was considered an especially daunting task due to the drastic change in the number of farms across the United States and the archaic bureaucratic system that had plagued the department since the

2014 - Left of Black with Jasmine Nichole Cobb

Left of Black host Mark Anthony Neal sits down with Jasmine Nichole Cobb to talk about her new book, “Picture Freedom: Remaking Black Visuality in the Early Nineteenth Century”.

Cobb is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Art, Art History, and Visual Studies, and African and African American Studies at Duke University.

Left of Black with Margo Natalie Crawford - Duration: 17:28. John Hope Franklin Center at Duke University 631 views

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Left of Black with Ed Pavlić - Duration: 15:51. John Hope Franklin Center at Duke University 409 views

Left of Black with Sherie Randolph - Duration: 24:15. John Hope