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Season Six

True First Series / Episodes / Season Six

SEASON SIX: Alone and Undaunted

Being the first to excel can be accompanied by isolation, rejection and seclusion. These eight legends all faced the challenge of going it alone as they rose to the pinnacle of achievement.

A call for black athletes to boycott the 1904 Olympics almost kept George Poage from being the first African American to stand on the medal podium, making his achievement both controversial and bittersweet. Tegla Loroupe had to go against the wishes of her father to become the first African woman to win the New York Marathon. Hattie McDaniel’s Oscar success was marred by criticism of her role in Gone With the Wind, while Aretha Franklin dominated in an industry overwhelmingly occupied by men. Walter Harris was treated with derision as America’s first black chess Master and abandoned his sport. Constance Motley and Samuel Battle served in a white justice system that tried to marginalize their accomplishments. Finally, Olaudah Equiano chronicled his experience as a slave before working tirelessly in the fight for abolition. These historic firsts remind us of the enormous courage in the hearts of all our legends of African descent.
Samuel J. Battle
Samuel J. Battle

Samuel J. Battle Born in North Carolina in 1883, “Big Sam” became the first African American to serve as a police officer in New York...READ MORE

Season Six
Walter Harris
Walter Harris

Walter Harris In the world of competitive chess, Walter Harris is a true legend. He was a contemporary of Bobby Fischer and played the young...READ MORE

Season Six
Tegla Loroupe
Tegla Loroupe

Tegla Loroupe When this Kenyan marathoner was seven years old, she had to run 10 kilometres in bare feet to get to school every morning....READ MORE

Season Six
Constance Baker Motley
Constance Baker Motley

Constance Baker Motley Before becoming the first African American woman to be named a federal judge in 1966, Constance Baker Motley served in the New...READ MORE

Season Six
George Coleman Poage
George Coleman Poage

George Coleman Poage While black athletes now dominate many Olympic events, few participated at the time George Coleman became the first African American to stand...READ MORE

Season Six
Olaudah Equiano
Olaudah Equiano

Olaudah Equiano This former slave was sold to European slave-traders when he was 11 years old and shipped to Barbados before ending up on a...READ MORE

Season Six
Hattie McDaniel
Hattie McDaniel

Hattie McDaniel The woman who would go on to be the first African American to win an Academy Award was born in Wichita, Kansas in...READ MORE

Season Six
Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin Like many African American performers, the Queen of Soul began her singing career in church where her father was a Baptist minister. Over...READ MORE

Season Six

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