The Longest Stride
Under the famed massive Woodruff Tree, the aged John Woodruff tells a lone teen track hopeful his life story in vivid, accurate detail. The “Nazi Games” in 1936 Berlin are remembered for the crushing victories by the black athletes of the United States led by Jesse Owens, challenging Hitler's Aryan race. Also, at these Olympics was a runner that experts say ran the “greatest race of all time.” His winning the first black gold medal in the running knocked Hitler for a loop.
John Woodruff, the last of the living gold medalists from the 1936 Olympics, was a native of a small Pennsylvania mining town and the grandson of slaves. His friends in this virtually all-white community were all-white. However, he had a rude awakening once venturing out into the segregated world in 1935.
He was nicknamed “Long John” for his tremendous stride--the longest ever recorded. Still, Woodruff was forced by Olympic competition to cut his pace, and from dead last place challenge the leaders way far ahead, all under the baleful gaze of German Chancellor Adolf Hitler.
Woodruff, young, black, inexperienced, and arriving at the University of Pittsburgh with 25 cents in his pocket, had to endure challenge after challenge. Running was only one facet of John Woodruff, who also craved education. Though World War II and the Korean War cut short his stellar athletic career, he continued to battle racism, bigotry, and segregation (for Blacks, Jews, and other minorities), helping others.
A recent double amputee, Woodruff’s constant victories in life while battling adversity, is a profoundly moving story of a man who represents determination and grit…despite all obstacles.
What others are saying:
"This is a powerful look at what was and what, sadly, is still prevalent in this era. With the author’s compelling ability to lure the reader into the era and the events as they unfold, this novel tells a story not just of one man who overcame racial disparities, but became a star in his own right that would inspire a whole new generation of those who will seek to overturn the wheels of injustice that continue to haunt the world. Despite the historic figures of the 1930s who stood in the way of Long John’s (and some of his colleagues) success, this man had the perseverance to rise above the injustices and become the best person he could be, not just on the running field, but also in life itself...The author’s penchant for sharing a good story shines through this riveting novel of life, racial disparity and history that continually repeats itself." - Emily-Jane Hills Orford, award-winning author of award-winning author of Queen Mary’s Daughter and Mrs. Murphy’s Ghost
by David Orange
Page Count: 236
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Publish Date: September 25, 2020
Imprint: Milford House Press
Genre: Sports / Historical / African American
FICTION/Historical/World War II