State Senator Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, left, and Tom Roberts unveil the David Donald Albritton marker on Highway 36 in Danville. The ceremony was conducted Friday.  | Clif Knight
State Senator Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, left, and Tom Roberts unveil the David Donald Albritton marker on Highway 36 in Danville. The ceremony was conducted Friday. | Clif Knight

Archived Story

Albritton marker dedicated

Published 12:13pm Monday, July 15, 2013

The Danville community is now the home of a permanent marker recognizing native son David Donald “Dave” Albritton as a 1936 Olympic silver medalist.

The official state marker was dedicated Fri., July 12, standing on Alabama 36 beside the historic Orr family cemetery.

State Senator Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, and historian Tom Roberts of Hartselle removed a state flag from the marker in a 10 a.m. ceremony witnessed by a dozen onlookers, none of whom were Albritton’s relatives.

Application for the marker was submitted by Roberts after he researched Albritton’s athletic, business and political accomplishments. Subsequently, Orr worked with Lee Sentell, state tourism director, to have the marker approved and made. Installation was provided by Randy Vest, Morgan County District 2 commissioner and his employees.

Albritton became the first Alabama native to win an Olympic medal when he claimed the silver in the high jump in Berlin, Germany in 1936. His American teammates, Cornelius Johnson and Delos Thurber won the gold and bronze, respectively, and five minutes before they were to receive their medals, German Chancellor Adolph Hitler left the viewing platform. Later, newspaper headlines read: “Hitler snubs American Negro winners.”

Morgan County census records show Albritton was born in Danville April 26, 1913, to Peter and Josephine Albritton, a family of 12 sharecroppers who lived close to where Albritton’s marker stands. Sometime between the 1920 and 1930 census, Albritton moved to Ohio where some of his older brothers lived. He later attended Ohio State University where he and his friend Jesse Owens competed for the school’s track and field team.

After receiving a B.S. degree in education. Albritton moved to Dayton, Ohio, where he taught and coached at Dunbar High School. Three of his teams won Ohio State high school track championships and the street in front of the school was named in his honor.

Albritton later owned and operated a successful insurance business in Dayton for over 30 years. In 1960, he was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives as a Republican and served for six consecutive terms. He died May 14, 1994 and is buried at Woodland Cemetery in Dayton. He was survived by a son, David Donald Albritton II.

Albritton’s achievements include the following:

•First Alabama native to win an Olympic medal in track and field

•First African American to hold the world high jump record

•Member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity

•Inducted into Helms Athletic Hall of Fame

•Inducted into the Dayton Amateur Boxing Hall of Fame

•Inducted into the U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame

•Inducted into the Ohio State University Athletic Hall of Fame

•Inducted into the Ohio Sports Hall of Fame

•Inducted into the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches

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