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A.S. “Doc” Young; Pioneer Author, Los Angeles Sentinel Executive Editor

Andrew Spurgeon “Doc” Young was an American sports journalist, editor, and author who promoted

African American sports figures. He was also one of the first African American publicists working in

Hollywood on the films The Defiant Ones and Kings Go Forth. In 1946, Young found a full-time job with

the Cleveland Call and Post and started a column called "Sportivanting". In it, he defended his core

belief that sports helped advance the civil rights of blacks, as prominent black athletes exerted more

influence on the image of blacks among the population than prominent writers and thinkers such as

W.E.B. Du Bois and others. It was an important time to write about black sports, as Jackie Robinson

broke the color barrier at the beginning of the 1947 season, and the Cleveland Indians became the first

American League team to feature a black player in Larry Doby.

Andrew Spurgeon Young was born in 1919 in Dunbrooke, Virginia, the eldest child of Andrew P. Young and Gertrude Norman. In 1941, he graduated from Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) with a

bachelor’s degree in business administration. While a student at Hampton, he served as editor of the

school newspaper. As a young man, he was influenced by the work of Frank A. (Fay) Young (no

relation), the first African American to have a weekly sports column.

Young was affiliated throughout much of his career with the Los Angeles Sentinel, moving from sports

editor to executive editor and handling special 25th and 30th-anniversary editions. During that time, he

also held positions and contributed articles and columns to about 100 magazines and newspapers,

including The Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Defender. He served as sports editor for Jet, Ebony,

and Hue magazines.

Black athletic achievement has often been excluded, downplayed, infantilized, or pathologized. Sadly, this has led to little scholarship historically on African Americans and sport. Young’s books documented the pioneering efforts of black sportswomen and men and the ups and downs of black inclusion in sports in the United States including the integration of Major League Baseball. The titles include “Great Negro Baseball Stars,” “Negro Firsts in Sports,” “Sonny Liston: The Champ Nobody Wanted,” “The Mets From Mobile,” “The Nat King Cole Story,” “Black Champions of the Gridiron: Leroy Keyes" & "O.J. Simpson,” “Black Athletes in the New Golden Age of Sports” and “The Negro Cowboy.”

Young also followed the Negro Leagues. He covered the Cleveland Buckeyes when they won the Negro

American League pennant in 1947. It was from a position of insider knowledge that Young ghost wrote

Jackie Robinson's controversial article "What's Wrong with Negro Baseball" which appeared in Ebony Magazine in June 1948. In this article, Robinson denounced some of the business practices of the Negro Leagues, including the lack of written contracts, the poor level of umpiring, and the bad accommodations that players had to put up with. In another influential article, "Is Baseball Ready for a Black Manager?" which appeared in Sepia in 1971, he not only argued in favor of black managers but correctly identified Frank Robinson and Maury Wills as two contemporary players who had all it took to become managers.

Throughout his career, he received numerous honors from the National Newspaper Publishers

Association. On September 6, 1996, in Los Angeles A. S. “Doc” Young died of pneumonia.

Vol. 96, No. 4, Special Issue: “African Americans and the History of Sport” (Fall 2011), pp. 441-447

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