Isaac Burns Murphy was born April 16, 1861 on a farm Frankfort, Kentucky. According to biographer, Pellom McDaniels III, this young man was one of the “most dynamic jockeys of his era. McDaniels in his definitive book on Murphy as a jockey, The Prince of Jockeys: The Life of Isaac Burns Murphy, Mr. Murphy was an prominent figure, despite obstacles, – not just in sports, but in the social, political, and cultural consciousness of African Americans.
During his brief life (1861-1896), Isaac Burns Murphy was one of the most successful thoroughbred horse jockeys in American history. About the time Isaac was twelve years old, his mother introduced him to Eli Jordan, an African American horse trainer at the farm where she worked. Jordan noticed Isaac;s small build and began grooming his protege to become a horse jockey. When Isaac was 14, he changed his name to Isaac Burns Murphy to honor his grandfather.
The Rider, the Man
Horse Jockey Isaac Burns Murphy won his first race on September 15, 1875, at Lexington Crab Orchard. He won 11 races in 1876 and 19 in 1877.
In 1884 Murphy won the American Derby in Chicago, Illinois, which was at the time the most prestigious race in the nation. He would win the American Derby in 1885, 1886 and 1888.
On May 27, 1884, Murphy got his first Kentucky Derby win and would win twice more, in 1890 and 1891. He was the first jockey to win successive Derby races and was also the first three-time winner.
Isaac Murphy counted that he’d won 628 of his total 1,412 races. In one his most calculated races, according to author McDaniels, on June 25, 1890, Murphy raced against white jockey Ed “Snapper” Garrison, during the era of Jim Crow segregation, to determine who was the better jockey. Murphy won by a heart-stopping first place finish. He was the “man” of legend for black folks back then and later white jockeys and scholars acknowledged his skill and a first -rate jockey.
Murphy competed at the Monmouth Handicap, in New Jersey just a few months later. Suspiciously, he rode poorly during the race and at the post-race inspection he fell off his horse and was accused of being drunk while riding; something he had never done before. However, he was suspended for 30 days, ever though his intoxication was never proven. Researchers agree now that this was to discredit Isaac Murphy. Forensic investigations done later posit he may have been poisoned, but the culprit(s) were never named.
The Jockey Murphy never re-gained his status as “the prince of jockeys.” After many difficult post-racing years, he died of pneumonia at 34 years old on February 12, 1896.
“Whatever hardships you face, never give up.” ~Justine Constatine
U. S. Marine Corp (Retired) did not give up, even when his prognosis was dire. Instead, he survived being shot in the head by a sniper in Iraq in 2006. Field medics and doctors who treated him upon his return to the United States after being wounded did not hope for the best outcome of Justin’s life.
Here is a summary of his story: As an active duty Marine officer, he volunteered to be deployed to Iraq in 2006 and assigned to be a Civil Affairs Team Leader to an infantry battalion. While on a routine combat patrol, Justin was shot in the head by a sniper.
Marine officer, Justin Constatine survived the attack and spends his life speaking to others about overcoming obstacles and volunteering with the Wounded Warriors Project. His message is clear—Never give up!
CBS featured Justine in a CBS Cares commercial. His inspiring message deserves a Fantastic Friday applause.
24 year-old Jamie Crane-Mauzy is a champion. She learned to ski when she was only one year old, being a profession in the sport was a solid childhood dream. In 2008, at age 16, she joined the United States Ski Team’s Elite Aerial Development Program.
Goals are meaningful to Crane-Mauzy. She says,
“If you take baby steps in the direction of your dream, you can accomplish whatever you want.”
This statement and mentality propelled her to achieve amazing goals:
2010 first female freestyle champion at Junior Snowboard & Freestyle World Championships
2013 first female freeskier to land a double backflip
2013 first female skier to flip off a rail in competition
However, in 2015 her skiing career ended when she crashed during a competition in Canada. The accident caused paralysis and a devastating brain injury causing a comma and severe memory loss. She lad to learn how to walk and talk again after her memory returned but Jamie remained positive a motivated throughout as she rebuilt her life. “I didn’t worry too much about the future or compare myself to the past” she says “I just set goals I could accomplish.
Jamie Crane-Mauzy has accomplished much, she is an elite woman of achievement.
As we celebrate Jamie, please send your nominations for a person to profile on Fantastic Friday. Make this day as FANTASTIC as you are.
Each Fantastic Friday post profiles someone or something fascinating and fantastic. Today, celebrate Usher Raymond.
It doesn’t matter whether Usher is paying tribute to James Brown as he did on ABC ‘s “Taking the Stage” or if he is just flowing with his own music and style, the one name “just Usher baby” singer is Fantastic.
Usher is quoted, “Strivers achieve what dreamers believe.” speaks volumes because Usher Raymond is a striver. In 2016 he was honored with a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, he has garnered two Grammy Awards, is co-owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and is a husband and father of two children.
One of Usher’s peak achievements for this 38 year old, beyond what he has already done, is his New Look Foundation which he started in 1999 and remains actively involved. New Look provides funding and service for children in foster care, offers conferences and camps for at-risk youth and provides leadership sessions for under-served youth in the community. For his investment in the non-profit arena, Usher has received awards from the Boys and Girls Clubs, the Trumpet Awards and the NAACP.
It’s Friday and Usher is Fantastic!
Who do you suggest as a person to profile as fantastic, post your nominations here. Remember, you too are fantastic!