Thomas Edward “Eddie” Tolan Jr.
Field of work: Athlete
Thomas Tolan graduated from Detroit’s Cass Technical High School in 1927. Before earning a B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1931, he attracted national attention in 1929 when he set a record in the 100-yard dash (9.5 seconds) and tied the record of 10.4 seconds in the 100-meter dash. At the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, he set an Olympic record in the 100 meter with a world record 10.3 seconds and also won the 200 meter race. Nicknamed the “Black Express,” he was the only double winner in the games that year and the first African American athlete to win Olympic gold medals. He was inducted posthumously into the University of Michigan Hall of Honor (1980).