Cheryl Thornton

Cheryl Thornton, age 12 from Fort Worth, Texas was competing against the boys at a skateboard contest in May 1977 and came 2nd in Freestyle! The photo was taken by Rodger Mallison showcasing Cheryl holding onto a laid-back handstand, which she received a trophy for. Photos of her competitors Michael Clay (14) and Jerome Willet (12) are also included in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram article. The contest was organized by Willie Fulton at the Como Community Center, which was built in 1970 and continues to serve the community today.

I was really excited to find this news feature because it highlights how skateboarding appealed to youth regardless of race or gender from its early days, and the photo of Cheryl is the first African-American girl I have found in a skateboard competition so far!

To find more about her story would be amazing!! Cheryl was a female BIPOC champion and deserves some acknowledgment. It wouldn’t be until the mid-1980s with Stephanie Person that a black female professional skateboarder would emerge, but there were other individuals like Mary Mills, Ramdasha Bikceem and Crystal Solomon who forged space for skaters of color today.

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