Preserving History & Legacies

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Long before the world was turned upside down by the heroics of Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympics, the roots of collegiate sports began to sprout in the small, obscure Black schools that emerged following the emancipation of the Negro slaves. Each year, Black History Month honors the well-known celebrants who were true icons in American culture and helped crack through the rigid system of separatism in this country. Black College Sports History & Legends is proud to join with others who have become the standard bearers of these voices and faces who have been branded by the ambiguity that is associated with the lack of recognition of their contributions to society.

In the fight to gain national acclaim and prominence, they have been devoid of recognition in the history books and later by mass media sources. A timeline of events that created many breakthroughs are included in this category. The opening of the National Black History Museum is a testimony of the vision and dedication to share cultural pride and an acknowledgement of African American life that has gone unrecognized. As we celebrate Black history, we invite you to embrace the impact Black colleges have played in the development of this great country.   

Top: Turner Arena, home of the first CIAA Tournament, 1946; Tuskegee Institute women’s tennis team w/head coach & founder, Cleve Abbott; Tennessee State Tigerbelles w/head coach Ed Temple  Below: Tennessee State and head coach John B. McLendon, Jr, First Black college team to win a National Basketball Championship (NAIA), 1957; NC Central men’s National NCAA Champions w/head coach Dr. Leroy T. Walker, 1958; Winston- Salem State College w/head coach Clarence “Big House” Gaines, First Black college team to win the NCAA National Div. II Championship, 1967; Morgan State men’s track NCAA Champions w/head coach Eddie Hurt


Jerry Johnson
A Celebrated 800-Win Career at One School

To the end, he was a quiet giant among his peers. When Jerry Johnson celebrated his 96th birthday in 2016,  Tubby Smith, a renowned Div. I coach paid tribute to the LeMoyne Owen College men's basketball coaching legend who spent his entire 46-year coaching career on the Memphis, Tenn. campus. Throughout his storied career, he was a lifelong friend of fellow legends like John B. McLendon, Jr. and Clarence "Bighouse" Gaines.
He led his team - the Magicians- to the 1975 NCAA Division III Championship with Tournament Outstanding Player Bob Newman, and had five SIAC Championships and five other championship titles. Johnson was ranked first among active NCAA Division II coaches with 821 wins in 46 seasons and is one of just six NCAA men’s basketball coaches who have won more than 800 games. He coached more than 1,000 basketball games.   see more Leaders...

Pro Football Recognizes HBCU Hall of Fame players at Super Bowl LI

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This Month in Black College Sports History

1881      TUSKEGEE INSTITUTE    founded by Booker T. Washington. it is the only college designated as National Historic Site by the National Park Service. 

1912      Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference   the oldest African-American athletic conference in the United States was founded on the campus of Hampton Institute (now Hampton University). Originally known as the Colored Intercollegiate Athletic Association, it adopted its current name in December 1950.

1913      South Eastern Athletic Conference    founded  as the South Atlantic Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1929- 1942) existed from 1929 to 1961.

1906      The First ORGANIZED BASKETBALL TEAM- the Smart Set Athletic Club was formed in Brooklyn, NY