Harlan County native Arthur Ramsey Jr. was honored with a resolution by the Harlan Independent Board of Education on Tuesday for winning the Kentucky State Track Meet pole vault title in 1963.
Raised in Kenvir, Ramsey began his education at the Black Mountain No.2 School in Kenvir, before moving to Rosenwald High School. After the closing of Rosenwald, he ended his high school education at Evarts High School.
Board member Will Miller praised Ramsey during his presentation of the resolution, saying Ramsey won the pole vault title with a “tremendous height of 12 feet-4 inches.” However, after talking with Ramsey, he said it was actually 12 feet-6 inches.
Miller continued by saying Ramsey taught himself to pole vault by cutting down a poplar tree from Black Mountain to use to cross a creek.
“Mr. Ramsey was a student athlete at Harlan Rosenwald and was coached by E.R. ‘Doc’ Gray,” said Miller. “He demonstrated exceptional ability in the high jump, broad jump and low hurdles. He was a star basketball and football player on the remarkable Harlan Rosenwald Red Devil teams.”
In an interview with Ramsey, who now lives in Point Blank, Texas, he said this honor was a “long time in coming.”
He said he is honored to receive the recognition.
“I really enjoyed sports in my younger days,” said Ramsey. “I was 6 feet tall and weighed 176 pounds — a thin man.”
Calling Harlan County “a beautiful place,” Ramsey said, “it’s where I grew up and it will always be home to me.”
Miller also read a letter from the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) acknowledging Ramsey’s nomination into the Dawahares/KHSAA 2014 Hall of Fame, which was submitted by Miller.
“The Harlan Independent School District and the school board recognizes and commends Arthur Ramsey Jr. on winning Rosenwald’s only state championship title and Harlan Independent School District’s first state track championship title,” said Miller. “He also holds the district’s oldest track record.”
Retiring from Ford Motor Company, in Detroit, Mich., after 40 years of service, Ramsey, who is now 69-years old, said he and his wife, Lois, have lived in Texas for the past six years. They have one child and one grandchild.
On hand to accept a copy of the resolution on behalf of his brother was Scottie Diamond. Also attending was a cousin, Ronnie Walker. Both men are from Harlan.