Glenn To Host A Celebration Of African American Sports History

By Tony McClean
Updated: December 17, 2006

Thomas Molineaux

Thomas Molineaux

NEW HAVEN, Ct. — This weekend in Atlanta, some of the nation’s most well known African-American athletes will gather to honor one of the fathers of American athletics while also using the opportunity to educate youths on the history of African-American athletes as well.

Former New York Knick and broadcaster Mike Glenn has always been committed to athletics and community service over the years. Following in the footsteps of his father, in 1979 he founded the Mike Glenn Basketball Camp for the Hearing Impaired, the nation’s first major summer camp for hearing impaired athletes.
Also during that time, Glenn has collected valuable artifacts on the accomplishments of black athletes in American history. His incredible collection is centered on boxer and former slave Thomas Molineaux, the first U.S. prizefighter to compete for the heavyweight crown on the world stage.
In coordination with the Mike Glenn Foundation, the exhibit entitled “From Molineaux To Michael: African Americans In Athletics” will be unveiled on Sunday, December 17 at the Marriott Century Center in Atlanta.
“History hasn’t been kind to this extraordinary individual (Molineaux)”, Glenn added. “When professional and collegiate sports were integrated, Black athletes who participated were recognized for some of their accomplishments”.
“However, Black athletes who preceded the integrationists were dismissed, marginalized and made invisible. We only hear a casual mention of their names at isolated times or during Black History Month, so, in effect, sports was integrated, but sports history has never been integrated.”
Glenn added that he wanted to use this weekend’s events as a way for athletes to reconnect to their communities, to emphasize the need to integrate sports history, and to stress a greater focus on education to today’s students.
“My goal is to raise self-esteem of African-Americans and change the way sports history is taught in America”, said Glenn.
This weekend’s events include a gala dinner, a silent auction, book sales as well and autograph session. The affair will also give special recognition to various sports pioneers that will be attendance including:
– Dr. Tommie Smith and Dr. John Carlos, the 1968 Olympic champions who raised gloved fists to protest racial injustice in America.
– James “Red” Moore, an Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame inductee who played with the 1935 Atlanta Black Crackers of the Negro Leagues.
– Teresa Edwards, a four-time USA Female Athlete of the Year and five-time Olympic basketball star.
– Dr. Frank Glover, the first NFL referee from the South and Dr. Ken Hudson, the first African-American to officiate in the NBA.
– Isabelle Daniels Holston, an Olympic medal winning member of the 1956 Tennessee State Tigerbelle track team that featured Wilma Rudolph.
– Bettye McClendon, the first female to officiate a men’s NCAA basketball contest.
– Charlie Scott, former NBA and ABA star and the first African-American to play in the ACC with the University of North Carolina.
Also on Monday the 18th, the celebration will culminate with a panel discussion entitled “Integration of Sports History: The Next Step”. Also a program recognizing the achievements of sports pioneers and local student athletes from area schools Booker T. Washington and St. Pius X High will be held as well.
Among the athletes scheduled to participate in the panel discussion are: Ralph Boston, Olympian and former track and field World Record Holder; NBA Hall of Famer Walt Bellamy; former NBA Coach of the Year John Lucas; former NBA All-Stars Lou Hudson and Ralph Sampson;
Also scheduled to appear are Olympic Gold Medal Sprinters Wyomia Tyus and Gwen Torrence; Tree Rollins, an 18-year NBA veteran and current NBDL coach; former Atlanta Falcon Bobby Butler; famed sports journalist Howie Evans and former Harlem Globetrotters Michael Douglas, Tyrone Brown and Harold Hubbard.
“We want to be able to built some unity between African-American athletes from various sports”, Glenn added. “In just organizing this event, I’ve found that there is a common humanity that we’ve been separated from by various barriers. It didn’t matter who I was talking to, all of our experiences have been similar”.
Glenn added that while meeting with the different athletes and coordinating this event, he felt like he was reading through the pages of his many books on African American sports history.
“The only difference was being able to reach out touch that person and feel and experience what they went through”, said Glenn.
For the many participants in this weekend’s events, it will be a chance to reflect, educate, and acknowledge the never-ending contributions of African Americans to the history of sports past, present, and future.
NOTE: For more information, log on to www.mikeglenn.com or contact Evangela Booker at 404-380-0192.