Who was the first African-American boxing champ? How about World Cycling champ? Who was the first African-American to win an Olympic gold medal? What year did Jackie Robinson break baseball's color barrier? Who was Althea Gibson and what first did she achieve? Detail our collection of pioneering African-American athletes for the answers to these and many more questions, and explore our African-American Firsts: Athletes photo gallery below.
Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier when he became the first black athlete to play Major League Baseball in the 20th century. He signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, and was named Rookie of the Year that year, National League MVP in 1949 and a World Series champ in 1955.
President Donald Trump granted Jack Johnson a rare posthumous pardon. In 1913, boxing’s first black heavyweight champion spent 10 months in prison for bringing his white girlfriend across state lines, a racially-charged conviction his niece has been challenging for years.