Black History Month: Sports Edition

   Black History Month is a time when we spotlight notable black historical figures, including athletes known for their bravery, talent, and unique stories in sports. Both past and present, athletes have acted as role models and leaders showing that anything is possible for people of every race and gender. 

   Throughout American history, African-American athletes have had to break barriers and establish themselves in predominantly white sports. In April 1947, Jackie Robinson played his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers, a professional baseball team in a league dominated by whites. During the medal ceremony in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, two African American track and field athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, both raised their fists in solidarity during the national anthem, combating discrimination in America. Along with those well-known greats, a local example at the University of North Carolina was basketball player Charlie Scott, who played his first game in December 1967 as both one of the first black basketball players in the ACC and the first black scholarship athlete at UNC. 

   Brave athletes like these paved the way for current African American powerhouses who dominate their sport. Lebron James of the National Basketball Association, considered one of the best basketball players of all time, won his fourth NBA championship just 5 months ago. The winningest tennis player of all time is Serena Williams, who has more than any other tennis player male or female with 23. In addition to these two dominant athletes, although lesser-known, African American racing driver, Lewis Hamilton of the Formula 1 racing series, has been perhaps the most dominant. He has won 7 of the last 8 Formula 1 championships and holds the record for most race wins ever with 95, as he pushes to add to that total with more seasons to come.

   At Broughton, a first occurred in 2018, when a former Capital, football player and coach, Dorrian Stephens, was announced as the new athletic director, making him the first African American Athletic Director in Broughton’s history.  As we celebrate Black History Month, it is important to acknowledge African American leaders in sports, in both our school and our country.