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LETTER TO THE EDITOR (AUGUST 2017): An inspiration to us all

September 13th, 2017 · No Comments

Remembering an unsung hero

On behalf of the Richardson family and the Central Technical School community I would like to thank you for the lovely story on Olympian and Jesse Owens U.S. counterpart, Sam Richardson.

It is important to share the stories and experiences of our fellow school alumni and neighbours, as it enriches our lives.

Upon reading the article I would like to clarify that Central Technical School celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2015. Harbord Collegiate Institute celebrated 125 years in 2017.

There is some confusion as to Sam Richardson’s birthdate. Although we have resource material stating that Sam was born in 1919, we have most recently accessed Sam’s school registration card from King Edward School, which states that he was born in 1921. This would mean that he would have been 15 years of age at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, 13 at the British Empire Games, very young indeed and what moxie!

The Canadian Olympic website and Wikipedia post his year of birth as 1917. To date, we have not been able to access Canada census information, which leaves the issue of his age at the Olympics unverified.

To quote a letter that we received from the Ontario Black History Society:

“Sammy Richardson, as he was known to his friends, was born just after the end of the First World War. His father served in the war and his great-grandparents came up through the Underground Railroad. Prior to attending Central Tech, he attended King Edward Public school with Stanley Grizzle and they used to race one another. Sammy, always a gifted athlete, travelled across Canada and the U.S., winning numerous medals. As a teenager, he competed and won both a gold medal and a silver medal at the British Empire Games in London in 1934. Upon his return members of the Black and white community came out in force to celebrate his return.

Still a teenager, he competed in three events at the 1936 Olympics with Jesse Owens and fellow Canadian Phil Edwards.

He was an inspiration to all.”

Once again thank you for the article, we look forward to further tributes in honour of Sam.

Fernanda Pisani
Central Tech Alumni
Archives Chair


Editors’ note: Thanks for the correction, and a great addition to the story of Sam Richardson.


Tags: Annex · Letters