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Herb Douglas, Olympic Medalist Inspired by Jesse Owens, Dies at 101

  • April 24, 2023

Douglas, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1948, described college as an onerous place for Black athletes at the time.

“We were harassed on campus,” he said. “We were definitely called derogatory names by players on opposing teams. I played one year for Clark Shaughnessy. The next year, Wes Fesler was the coach. He told me to forget football. He said I had a future in track, so I stuck with track.”

He earned a master’s degree in education from the university in 1950.

He is survived by his wife, Minerva (Brice) Douglas; his daughter, Barbara Ralston; four grandchildren; and several great-grandchildren. His son, Herbert P. Douglas III, died last year.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Douglas worked in marketing as a salesman and executive for the Pabst Brewing Company. He then joined Schieffelin Company, later Schieffelin Somerset Company, which imported wine, Champagne and brandy. When he retired in 1987, he was vice president for urban market development. He remained as a consultant until 1993.

In his later years, he also served as executive producer of “The Renaissance Period of the African American in Sports,” a 2014 documentary film about the Black athletes at the 1936 Olympics.

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