Long before Colin Kaepernick knelt, a Black female athlete defied the US National Anthem, but she's been largely forgotten

Updated 7:43 AM ET, Mon April 26, 2021

(CNN)She laced up her boots and sped on to the skating rink. A seemingly innocuous act, except in 1952 during a time of racial segregation in the US, this young Black woman departed the rink with a broken arm, her actions having infuriated White men intent on her exclusion.

Over a half a century before Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the US national anthem, track and field star Eroseanna "Rose" Robinson was consumed by the need to challenge injustice, but her courageous story has been largely overlooked in the pages of history that have often focused attention instead on athletic peers Tommie Smith and John Carlos.
Born in 1925, Robinson excelled at Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) track events in the 1940s before developing into a leading high jumper, winning at the National AAU Championships in 1958 and joining the US Track and Field team thereafter.
Activism was already part of her life -- through the 50s, she had been prominent in direct action de-segregation protests, including one at a skate rink in Cleveland.
"Rose was really effective at the skate-ins because she was a great athlete," Dr. Amira Rose Davis, professor of history and African American studies at Penn State University, told CNN Sport.