First African American Gold Medalist

The Jesse Owens film “Race” premieres in theaters around the country this week. While Jesse Owens‘ accomplishments should not be diminished, he was not the only African American pioneer in track and field. Like Owens, William “Dehart” Hubbard was an Olympic gold medalist and an Ohioan. During the 1924 Paris games, Hubbard leaped his way into history by becoming the first African American gold medalist in an individual event in the Olympics (long jump).  Dehart was born and raised in Cincinnati. He attended Walnut Hills High School where he excelled both in the classroom as well as track and field. Following graduation from high school, he attended the University of Michigan, where he continued to compete in the sport. While in college, Hubbard broke the world record for the long jump, tied the record for the 100-yard dash, and traveled to France to compete for the U.S. Olympic team. After college, Dehart made the smart decision to return to Ohio where he was employed by the Cincinnati Public Recreation Commission and later an adviser for the Federal Housing Authority. He also founded the Cincinnati Tigers, a professional baseball team which played in the Negro American League.

 


First African American Gold Medalist

Photo via: Flickr