Page 10 THE MALDEN ADVOCATE–Friday, February 12, 2021 METEOR| FROM PAGE 1 (Editor’s Note: Following is Part 1 of a 2-part series on one of Malden's most renowned athletes, Louise May Stokes Fraser. This story appeared exclusively in the Malden Advocate in May 2020 and is reprinted today as part of our Black History Month coverage.) By Steve Freker W hen she was a young girl, former U.S. Olympian Louise Mae Stokes Fraser would race against boys in her Malden neighborhood on the B&M Railroad tracks just outside of Malden Square. She beat most of them. In a fitting bit of touching irony, part of that historic landmark, now known as the Northern Strand Trail, a popular walking cycling and running path, has been named in her honor. Malden always beams with pride and excitement as a community when one of its own is recognized on a national level for excellence and achievement. It is not a common occurrence, but when it does happen, the Malden community cherishes those moments. One Malden native stands alone in local lore, however, as she attained heights of achievement that have never been matched by a Malden resident. Louise May Stokes Fraser was not only a national success story in the early to mid-1930s, but also drew international acclaim in the arena of track and field. Malden Mayor Gary Christenson honored her memory once again in early May of 2020, when he announced the city was dedicating, in her name, a running, walking and cycling Loop connecting trails that encircle the Malden River. The Loop was also dedicated in the name of the late Malden Court Clerk-Magistrate Joseph Croken, a longtime biking enthusiast before his sudden passBREAKING THE BARRIER: Malden's Louise May Stokes, left and Illinois' Tidye Pinkett, right, were the first two African-American women to ever be selected to the U.S. Olympic Team, for the 1932 Games in Los Angeles, Calif.(Courtesy Photo) ing in 2007. Stokes Fraser burst onto the international stage at the age of just 18, when she tied a world record in the standing broad jump event as a member of a women's track and field club in December, 1931, just a few months after her senior year at Malden High School. First-ever Malden resident & first Black women selected for U.S. Olympics is 1932 Just a few months after that, she brought further international claim to her hometown when she became the first (and only) Malden resident, man or woman, ever to be named to a U.S. Olympic Team, when she was selected as a sprinter for the 1932 Olympic Games, which that year were being hosted on Los Angeles, Calif. Stokes Fraser also made history as she and teammate Tidye Pickett, an exceptional athlete from Chicago, Ill. were the first two Black women to be selected as U.S. Olympians that year. Sadly, neither Stokes Fraser nor Pickett were able to compete and represent their country in the 1932 Olympic Games, replaced at the last minute in the 4 X 100 relay event. Since the two women had appeared to have earned the right to a spot on that relay team due to their performances at pre-Olympics time trials and the fact their 11th hour replacements were white women, race has been cited by a number of historians as being a factor in their being denied a spot to compete in any official Olympics events in 1932. Both women again were picked to compete in the 1936 Olympics, this time the historic Games being held in Berlin, the heart of Nazi Germany. These games were forevermore known as the "Jesse Owens" Olympics, due to Owens, an African-American on the men's team, winning four Gold Medals. Once again, Stokes Fraser did not get an opportunity to compete, left off the relay team once again. Pickett did go on to achieve notoriety as the first African-American woman in history to compete for the U.S. Olympic Team, though an injury ended her quest for a medal in the semifinals of the 100 meter sprint. Though, by the numbers, Stokes Fraser did not excel in the pre-competition times as she had four years earlier in the, again it appeared she had earned a spot in the 4 X 100 relay with the better performances. But again, some sports historians claim racism was ultimately a factor in her being denied a ~ OP-ED ~ (This letter was submitted for publication by Councillor Debra DeMaria as an OP-ED) February 4, 2021 The Honorable Jason Lewis Massachusetts State House, Boston, MA02133 Dear Senator, I wish you and your family good health as you continue to help lead our state through this unconscionable pandemic of Covid-19.You have ferociously been a beacon of hope.While I am a leader in my community, I speak to you as a concerned resident of Massachusetts.I can only imagine the responsibility you hold and I thank you. Today I write to you to advocate for school-aged children in our state.As you are aware, some communities have hybrid learning while some have remote learning.While I can understand these decisions fall on local municipalities, it is all a bit confusing.If we could wrap our arms around the vaccination of educators, just think how much quicker our children would be back in school.While not normality, it would certainly and tremendously help! We have three grandchildren; ages 9/7/4 struggling to learn, eager to learn; and sadly falling backward with their education. Without their classroom settings and their educators, how can an equitable education even be possible?How long will they last before this affects them mentally, socially and physically?I believe it is just a matter of time before we are overwhelmed with these affects.Early Education/ Day Care and K-12 are scheduled for vaccinations Phase 2, Group 3 as of today, February 4, 2021.Depending on supply, this realistically could be late March or even longer.This thought is frightening. Our children have but one chance to be educated; one chance to absorb all the knowledge they can through the experience and professionalism of our statewide educators.It continues to be confusing to me that they have NOT been better prioritized. Our children are the foundation of our future. So where do we go from here?I suppose there will always be another group advocating for their workforce, their age, or even themselves selfishly.My “ask” today is that you, together with the Massachusetts delegation urge the Governor to reach higher and harder for the vaccinations to come to Massachusetts.Get our educators vaccinated and set a tight target date for this completion! Again, this isn’t about the teachers or their unions…it is about our children who are the future of our state and our country.Can’t we all do better?Thank you Senator. Respectfully, Debbie DeMaria Councillor-At-Large Malden, MA02148 781/953-9474 cc: Reps. Ultrino, Donato, Lipper-Garabedian, Mayor Christenson, Council President Anderson chance to run. Louise Mae Stokes Fraser grew up in Malden and excelled in all athletics in her formative years, despite the fact women's participation in sports competition was extremely limited both by opportunity and public opinion. Added to the limitations was the fact that in many parts of the United States, segregation according to race was prevalent and in effect in many ways and on a number levels. A flat-out paucity of available opportunities for would-be women athletes in both team and individual sports was indeed one major barrier. Add to that the belief in many circles that athletic competition was innately wrong, physically and mentally, for women to participate. From the late 19th century right up until the 1940s, prominent scientific minds spoke against women competing in athletics, citing adverse effects anywhere from the child-bearing process to mental instability, Who was Louise Mae Stokes Fraser? Louise May Stokes grew up near Malden's downtown and developed a love of running and sports in general at a young age. According to her son, Wilfred Fraser Jr., she beat any girls in town easily, so she began racing neighborhood boys on the B&M Railroad tracks which ran along the city behind Malden Square, now the site of the Northern Strand Trail Bike Path. She went on to become a student at the then brand-new Beebe Junior High School on Pleasant Street in the late 1920s, before moving on to Malden High School. It was there that Louise Mae began to excel athletically.She starred on the fledgling Beebe girls basketball team, which was a very rudimentary, 6-on-6 game, with only one dribble allowed per player at a time and only three players allowed over half court of the small court surface at a time. The girls basketball rules remained essentially the same for 50 years, into the 1970s. She caught the eye of a local track enthusiast and organizer, William H. Quaine, who ran the Onterora Club, a private track and field club in the area. Quaine quickly took an interest in Stokes Fraser and began to guide her career, entering her in races and events around the region. This coincided with her athletic participation at Malden High School, where she was a member of the Class of 1931 who competed in basketball and girls track and field. She established MHS school records in nearly every event offered and balanced her time by singing in the choir at Eastern Avenue Baptist Church. 'The Malden Meteor' sets a World Recordin 1931 In the spring of her senior year, at Quaine's urging, she entered the Boston-based Women's Track Championships, held in the Fens, near Fenway Park and adjacent to where Northeastern University is now located. Stokes Fraser wowed the large crowd in attendance by winning four events and setting a New England record in the 100 meter sprint with a time of 12.9 seconds. Most remarkably, she also tied the World Record in the standing broad jump, with a mark of 8 feet-5 3/4 inches. She was awarded the James Michael Curley Mayor's Cup as the event's Most Outstanding Performer. Furthermore, as news of her world record began to spread, almost immediately, national attention began to come Stokes Fraser's way. A bright future appeared to be looming for the young teen girl who many had started to call "The Malden Meteor". (Part 2 of a 2-part series on Louise Mae Stokes Fraser, "The Malden Meteor," will appear in next Friday's Malden Advocate)

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