Today in black history: Debi Thomas wins singles, Marcus Garvey imprisoned, and happy birthday, Klay Thompson and Gary Coleman
The Undefeated edition’s black facts for Feb. 8
1925 – Marcus Garvey enters federal prison in Atlanta. The Jamaican-born political leader, entrepreneur and orator was known for his leadership within the Pan-African and black nationalist movements. Garvey founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), a movement that encouraged African-Americans to go back to their roots and resettle in Africa. The association grew to include 700 branches in 38 states.
1960 – Boston Celtics center Bill Russell becomes first NBA player to grab 51 rebounds in a game. He won 11 championships during his 13 seasons as a Celtic (1956–1969).
1968 – Actor Gary Coleman is born in Zion, Illinois. As a child he was diagnosed with a congenital kidney disease that stunted his growth. The tallest Coleman got in his lifetime was 4 feet, 8 inches, but his height was perfect for the roles he landed as a child star, beginning with his most memorable character, Arnold Jackson, on the popular sitcom Diff’rent Strokes (1978-86).
1986 – Figure skater Debi Thomas becomes the first African-American to win the women’s singles at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. A month later, Thomas went on to defeat East Germany’s Katarina Witt, becoming the first African-American woman to win the Women’s World Figure Skating Championships.
1990 – Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson, one half of the Splash Brothers duo, is born. He goes on to become a three-time NBA champion.