• America's First Black Heavyweight Boxing Olympic Gold Medalist

    Big Ed’s Archive

THE LIFE OF: Hayes “BIG ED” Sanders

Hayes Edward Sanders was born March 24, 1930 in Los Angeles, CA. His father, Hays Sanders, hailed from Elysian Fields, TX and worked as a municipal garbage worker. His mother, Eva Cook Sanders, hailed from Pearsall County, TX, and was a stay-at-home mother.

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Hayes "BIG ED" Sanders born in Watts, CA 1930

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A Legend Lives On

Idaho State University alum Ed Sanders, made history as the first African-American to bring home the Olympic gold medal in boxing as a heavyweight. At a time a decade before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was made a federal law, trailblazers like Sanders helped pave the way for generations to come.

View Sanders 1952 Olympic Boxing Match

Hayes “Big Ed” Sanders

(March 24, 1930 – December 12, 1954) An American heavyweight boxer from Watts, California who won an Olympic gold medal for Boxing in 1952. Survived by his wife Mary Sanders and son Russell Sanders.