“At a time when there were few high-profile Black athletes beyond Jackie Robinson and Joe Louis, Coachman became a pioneer. She led the way for female African-American Olympic track stars like Wilma Rudolph, Evelyn Ashford, Florence Griffith Joyner and Jackie Joyner-Kersee.”
~ Richard Goldstein, writer, The New York Times
On November 9, 1923 in Albany, Georgia, a baby girl was born to Fred and Evelyn Coachman. The fifth of what would be their ten children, Alice grew into a youth who truly enjoyed sports. Although she excelled in basketball, she was stellar in track and field. Unfortunately, she had three strikes going against her: gender, lack of familial support and segregation. Because public facilities outlawed integration, Alice was barred from being able to train and participate in her athletic endeavors such as softball, baseball and, notably, track.
Undeterred, she developed a type of guerilla training regime, including the use of rope and sticks to simulate a high jump crossbar. What was truly unique was that she ran barefoot on the winding, red dirt roads of Albany.