Ben Tucker was the first African American to run the equivalent of a sub-4-minute mile. He clocked a 3:40.8 for 1500 meters during the AAU National Championships on June 28, 1964 in New Brunswick, NJ, finishing seventh. (That time is equivalent to a 3:58.4 in the mile.) The first four that day were some of America's best: Tom O’Hara, Dyrol Burleson, Jim Grelle, and Jim Ryun. All broke the American 1500 meter record that day. In college, Tucker competed for San Jose State and was a member of the 1962 and 1963 NCAA Cross-Country Championship teams. He set school records in the 800 and 1500 meters. His 800 record stood for 15 years, while the 1500 meter school record was tops for 11 years. Now 75, he lives in Berkeley, CA.
Career/Profession? I retired in 2003 from the University of
California, Berkeley, as Manager of Early and Immediate
Outreach Programs. But I wasn’t ready to just sit still, so I
signed up for acting classes at a performing arts company for
seniors in Oakland, focusing on storytelling as an art form. I’ve performed