This Day in Black History: Aug. 7, 1948

Alice Coachman wins a gold medal at 1948 Olympics in the high jump.

Posted: 08/07/2014 12:15 AM EDT

Alice Coachman was the first Black woman to win an Olympic gold medal when she won the international competition in the high jump in the Olympic Games in London in 1948.

Born in Albany, Georgia, in 1923, she dominated the Amateur Athletic Union outdoor high championship from 1939 through 1948. However, she was unable to compete in Olympic Games because they were canceled in 1940 and 1944 as a result of World War II.

In the high jump finals of the 1948 Summer Olympics, Coachman leaped 1.68 m (5 ft 6⅛ in) on her first try. Coachman also excelled in the indoor and outdoor 50m dash and the outdoor 100m dash. Representing Tuskegee Institute, Coachman also ran on the national champion 4 x 100-meter relay team in 1941 and 1942.

Coachman is an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

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 (Photo: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for USOC)

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