Why An African-American Sports Pioneer Remains Obscure : Code Switch : NPR: Alice Coachman Davis never entered the pantheon of breakthrough African-American sports heroes, like Jesse Owens or Wilma Rudolph. But she was a pioneer nonetheless.
In 1948, competing as Alice Coachman, she became the first African-American woman to win Olympic gold, breaking the U.S. and Olympic records in the high jump.
Chances are, you've never heard of her. Davis died on Monday at age 90 from cardiac arrest.
"It was because of her self-confidence, her ability to push through, that made the neglect feel all the more hurtful," says Jennifer Lansbury, author of A Spectacular Leap: Black Women Athletes in Twentieth Century America.