After winning the gold medal in the 400-meter race in the Berlin Olympics in 1936, Oakland-born Archie Williams was honored with a parade.
But when he graduated from UC Berkeley with a mechanical engineering degree in 1939, he couldn't get hired in his chosen field because he was Black. So he dug ditches for the East Bay Municipal Utility District.
The life story of Archie Williams is filled with highs and lows and, most of all, perseverance.
He went on to learn to fly, helped teach the Tuskegee Airmen to fly during World War II and had a career as an Air Force meteorologist.
Williams died in 1993. Just last year, San Anselmo's Sir Francis Drake High School was renamed Archie Williams High School in honor of the man who was a beloved math and computer science teacher at the school for over 20 years.
Once you learn about Williams's incredible life, then the life of a 14th-century human trafficker from England — whose name the school used to bear — doesn't seem so worthy of honor, even if he did sail around the world.
(For an even more detailed account of Archie Williams's life, I highly recommend reading this oral history from UC Berkeley's "Black Alumni Series.")