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 Frederick Douglass “Fritz” Pollard, Jr.

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Frederick Douglass “Fritz” Pollard, Jr.

  • Birth 18 Feb 1915
  • Death 15 Feb 2003
  • Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
  • Plot Sec: 5-S ROW 23, Site: 1
  • Memorial ID 49299583

Frederick Douglass "Fritz" Pollard, Jr. died on February 15, 2003 in Washington, DC at the age of 87. He had been suffering with Alzheimer's disease.

Fritz, Jr. was born on February 18, 1915 in Springfield, MA to Frederick Douglass "Fritz" Pollard, Sr. and Ada (Laing) Pollard. Fritz, Jr. was the oldest child and he had three sisters. He moved with his family to Chicago, IL and he graduated from Nicholas Senn High School where he excelled in academics and as an athlete in track and football. Fritz, Jr. was the city, state, and national interscholastic champion in the high and low hurdles as a high school senior.

His father, Fritz Pollard, Sr., was the first African-American coach in the National Football League when he was named as co-coach of the Akron Pros professional football team in 1921. Fritz, Sr. was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio in 2005.

Fritz Pollard, Jr. followed his father to Brown University where he achieved success in football and track, however, he left after three semesters to transfer to the University of North Dakota. He equaled the world record for the 45 yard high hurdles while at Brown in 1934. His accomplishments at Brown University allowed him to join his father as a member of the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame.

At the University of North Dakota, Fritz, Jr. was a three-sport athlete (track, football, and boxing) and was a Collier's Little All-America selection in football as a halfback in 1938 and was All North Central Conference in 1937 and 1938. He also excelled in the high hurdle events in track at UND. He trained for the hurdles during snowy winters by running and jumping on the tops of railroad cars parked in the freight yard near the University in Grand Forks, ND which were swept clean for him by railroad workers.

His prowess in the hurdles enabled him to qualify for the 1936 U.S. Olympic team which competed in Berlin, Germany. His close friends and teammates included the legendary Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals in the games, and Ralph Metcalfe, who was then a co-holder with Owens of the 100 meter world record. Fritz, Jr. won a bronze medal in the 110 meter high hurdles. His accomplishments at the games, and those of the other African-American athletes, destroyed the Nazi belief in Aryan superiority.

After he left the University of North Dakota, Fritz, Jr. attended John Marshall Law School in Chicago and served in the U.S. Army as a special services officer during World War II from 1942 to 1945. After the war, he taught physical education in Chicago and worked with the Commission on Youth Welfare. In the 1960's, he became a Foreign Service Officer and retired in 1981 as the director of the State Department's overseas schools for Americans.


Family Members

Gravesite Details CAPT US ARMY





  • Created by: John C. Anderson
  • Added: 6 Mar 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 49299583
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Frederick Douglass “Fritz” Pollard, Jr. (18 Feb 1915–15 Feb 2003), Find A Grave Memorial no. 49299583, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by John C. Anderson (contributor 47208015) .