News Post

PD to host Olympic record-breaker Ralph Boston
PD to host Olympic record-breaker Ralph Boston
Leigh.Dyer

As a celebration of Black History Month, the PD community is honored to be hosting an Olympic medalist and long-jump record breaker, Ralph Boston.

Boston will speak to PD students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni on February 5 at 6 p.m., an event hosted by PD's Office of Diversity and Multicultural Education.

Boston was born in 1939 in segregationist South, just a few years after Jesse Owens was declared one of the world's greatest athletes at the 1936 Olympics. Boston became a track and field star at Tennessee State University, competing in high and low hurdles, high jump, triple jump, and his signature long jump. During the build-up to the 1960 Olympics, Boston broke Owens' long-jump record, jumping 26 feet and 11.25 inches. He went on to win the gold and break the Olympic record. He competed in two more Olympics, taking home silver in 1964 and bronze in 1968.

In his later career, he moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, and worked for the University of Tennessee as Coordinator of Minority Affairs and Assistant Dean of Students. He was the field event reporter for the CBS Sports Spectacular coverage of domestic track and field events. He was inducted into the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1974 and into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1985.

Boston's visit to PD has come courtesy of Jorden Williams, who is a Freedom School Fellow here and works on the coaching staff for Middle School Football and Varsity Basketball teams. Boston is is cousin. "He gave me the ability to make social justice change and stand up for something," Williams says of Boston. "To have an Olympian being very close (in my family) is a superb privilege, and he has taught me a lot of lessons about being black in America and what to expect as a young African-American male."


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