Charles Spearman Jr.

Charles Derone Spearman Jr. ("Bo"), born January 14th, 1913 in Arkadelphia, AR,1 was a Negro league baseball player. He was the son of Charles Spearman, the brother of Fred Spearman, and the cousin of Sam Wheeler and Leon Wheeler. See the Spearman Family.


Spearman was the son of longtime Negro league baseball player Charles Spearman Sr., though the elder Spearman was not actively involved Charles' childhood.2 Instead, Charles grew up with his mother, Beulah (nee Catledge) Spearman, moving from Arkadelphia, AR, to the Dallas, TX,3 to Little Rock, AR,4 as a child. He attended Dunbar High School in Little Rock and excelled as an athlete. He became best known as a football player, but also played baseball with Dunbar Junior College in 19305 and later played semi-pro baseball with the Dubisson Tigers6 and the Missouri Pacific Boosters7 in Little Rock. After graduating from Dunbar, he earned a football scholarship to LeMoyne College where he played baseball and became a star football player during the 1932-1937 seasons. He was named first-team All-American end by the Pittsburgh Courier in 19348 , 19369 and 1937.10 He graduated in the spring of 1938 and was selected to play with an all-black college all-star team in a charity exhibition game against the Chicago Bears of the National Football League.11 The game was played on September 23rd at Soldier Field in Chicago with a harsh 0-51 loss for the all-stars.12 13

After graduating from LeMoyne, Spearman moved to Manhattan, NY to live with his father.14 He later played baseball with the the Wellington Hotel team in New York from 1939-1941,15 16 17 and perhaps the Brooklyn Royal Giants in 1947.18 During World War II, he served as a First Lieutenant in the US Army.19 He also later graduated from Columbia University with a master's degree in health and physical education.20

In 1947, Spearman returned to LeMoyne as head coach of the college's football team. He served there through 1949 and later took coaching positions with Bishop College in Marshall, Texas, Tennessee State University in Nashville and Dunbar High School in his hometown of Little Rock. In 1956, he became a coach at Arkansas AM&N. He was head coach of the football team until 1961 and head coach of the baseball team until 1977.21 He retired as a professor from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in 1980.22

Spearman died on September 8th, 2000 in Pine Bluff, AR.23 He was buried in Graceland Cemetery in Pine Bluff.24


"Charles Derone Spearman , 87, of 3911 Little John Drive, died September 8, 2000, at his home. He was born January 14, 1913, at Arkadelphia, a son of the late Charley K. and Beulah M. Spearman. He received his early education in Dallas and Little Rock public schools. He excelled in sports and was a member of the Glee Club and Drama Club. He graduated from Dunbar High School at Little Rock. He accepted a scholarship to LeMoyne College at Memphis, where he was selected to the All-American football team three years and lettered in basketball three years. He became a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. During his teens, he played semi-professional baseball for the Missouri Pacific Railroad Boosters Club and Dubison Tigers [sic] at Little Rock. He was selected to the Colored College All-Star football team to play the Chicago Bears in 1938. He attained the rank of first lieutenant in the Army in 1942. In 1947, he accepted the coaching position at LeMoyne Owens College. He served as an assistant coach at Bishop College at Marshall, Texas, and at Tennessee State University at Nashville. He later accepted a teaching and coaching position at Dunbar High School. In August 1951, he went to work at Arkansas AM&N College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff). At AM&N, he served as assistant professor in the Health and Physical Education Department and coach. He was head football coach from 1957 to 1960. He served as head baseball coach from 1954 to 1977. He retired from UAPB in 1980 as an assistant professor and coach emeritus. He became a member of St. James United Methodist Church in 1953, where he served on the administrative board and later became chairman. He was a member of the trustee board and Methodist Men until his failing health curtailed his activity. He was also active member of Delta Sigma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the 20th Century Club, Harbor Oaks Golf Club and Retired Teachers Association. In 1949, he married the former Margaret Hearndon. She preceded him in death in 1992. Survivors include his wife, Versie B. Spearman , whom he married in 1997; two daughters, Gwendolyn Paris Terry and Georgette A. Wiley, both of Glen Cove, New York; a brother, Frederick Spearman of Queens, New York; two grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. James United Methodist Church with the Rev. Henry Wilkins IV officiating. Burial will be in Graceland Cemetery by P.K. Miller Mortuary of Pine Bluff."25
1 Pine Bluff Commercial, 9/12/2000
2 Untold Stories: Black Sport Heroes Before Integration, by Darren Ivy and Jeff Krupsaw. 2002.
5 Chicago Defender, 4/19/1930, p.9
6 Untold Stories: Black Sport Heroes Before Integration, by Darren Ivy and Jeff Krupsaw. 2002.
7 Pine Bluff Commercial, 9/12/2000
14 1940 U.S. Census. Spearman is living with his father and fellow baseball player Jake Freeman.
15 New Amsterdam News, 8/24/1940, p.14
16 New Amsterdam News, 6/24/1939, p.15]
18 Hartford Courant, 5/2/1947. Delaware County Daily Times, 7/11/1947. Newspaper rosters for the 1947 Brooklyn Royal Giants suggest that a "Charles Spearman" played second base for the team alongside Clyde Spearman. The New Jersey Afro-American from 7/5/1947 reported that Charlie and Clyde were brothers. However, it seems unlikely that Clyde's brother Charles Spearman Sr. would have been on the team, being age 55 and retired from baseball since the early 1930s. Hence, it seems most likely that Charles Jr. is the identity of the second baseman. Other box scores for the Brooklyn Royal Giants list an "F. Spearman" playing with the team, suggesting that perhaps Charles Jr.'s brother Fred also played on the team.
20 Untold Stories: Black Sport Heroes Before Integration, by Darren Ivy and Jeff Krupsaw. 2002.
21 Untold Stories: Black Sport Heroes Before Integration, by Darren Ivy and Jeff Krupsaw. 2002.
22 Pine Bluff Commercial, 9/12/2000
23 Pine Bluff Commercial, 9/12/2000
25 Pine Bluff Commercial, 9/12/2000