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Luther Lindsay (1924-1972)

  

Real NameLuther Jacob Goodall

Lifespan - 12/30/24 - 2/21/72

6’4” 235 lbs. - Norfolk, VA


Athletic Background Wrestling (CIAA Champion); Football (CFL)

Teacher(s) - Stu Hart

AliasesLuther Lindsey

Peak Years`53-`63

Place in HistoryThere were so many black athletes who never reached their full potential as amateurs due to Jim Crow and many who never reached their full potential as pro-wrestler because of unregulated racism.  Luther Lindsay was, according to most of his peers, an incredible athlete whose amateur skill and submission knowledge were second-to-none.  While he did receive numerous title shots and enjoyed his successes, his career was certainly limited by systemic racism.  He made his start in Canada, hooking up with Stu Hart after playing in the Canadian Football League.  Hart reportedly had such reverence for Lindsay that he carried a photograph of him in his wallet for years.  He made his start in 1951 and was regularly billed as the “World Negro Champion” or something similar, working with Shag Thomas and other black wrestlers.  Although he was from the South, Lindsey relocated to the Pacific Northwest and spent the majority of his career there.  The territory was comparatively small and Luther Lindsey never achieved the level of fame of Bobo Brazil and Bearcat Wright, however he was the first black challenger to the NWA Championship.  In 1954, he met Lou Thesz and quietly made history.  This was a decade before Brazil’s unrecognized NWA title win over Buddy Rogers or Bearcat’s WWA Championship reign that are both held up as significant accomplishments for black wrestlers.  Thesz held him in high regard as not only the greatest black wrestler, but as one of the twenty-five greatest wrestlers of all-time.  From there, he ventured into Canada and off to Hawaii, building his reputation.  In 1955, Morris Sigel brought Lindsey to Texas to wrestle Duke Keomuka in what was billed as the first interracial match.  Not long after he was challenging Thesz yet again in Dallas.  Lindsay did a lot of traveling with mixed results.  In some places, he was prominently featured, in others he was tucked in midcard tag matches and in others he was only allowed to wrestle other African-Americans.  By the mid-60s, Luther Lindsey was past his physical prime and returned to the Carolinas and to work for Jim Crockett Promotions.  He was never pushed strongly.  He was working with various partners against heel teams like the Andersons, slowing down and gaining weight.  In a routine match, Luther Lindsey executed a splash on an opponent and was unresponsive after the pinfall.  A heart attack had claimed his life before the age of fifty.  It was a sad end to one of pro-wrestling’s true pioneers whose legit skill earned him more respect with his peers than many of his black contemporaries and many NWA title matches.  Luther Lindsey may not be remembered as fondly as some and yet his accomplishments speak for themselves.


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