The image is from Wikipedia Commons
Ethel Johnson (wrestler)
|Birth name||Ethel Blanche Wingo|
|Born||(1935-05-14)May 14, 1935
|Died||September 14, 2018(2018-09-14) (aged 83)
|Cause of death||Heart disease|
|Spouse(s)||Leon Hairston (–2010)|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Ethel Johnson
|Billed height||5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)|
|Billed weight||115 lb (52 kg)|
|Trained by||Mildred Burke|
Ethel Blanche Hairston (née Wingo; May 14, 1935 – September 14, 2018) was an American professional wrestler whose ring name was Ethel Johnson. She debuted at age 16, becoming the first African-American women's champion. She was a fan favorite, billed as "the biggest attraction to hit girl wrestling since girl wrestling began."
Professional wrestling career
Johnson started her training after her sister Babs Wingo, the first African-American woman to integrate professional wrestling, in the 1950s, signing with the promoter Billy Wolfe. Their younger sister Marva Scott would later join professional wrestling as well. In 1952, Johnson, along with her sisters worked three matches including a tag match in the main event at Baltimore, Maryland, which drew the highest record crowd of 3,611 fans. By 1954, Johnson and Wingo received top billing alongside Gorgeous George, after drawing 9,000 fans at the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri. While touring Latin America, Johnson worked under the name Rita Valdez.
During her time in wrestling, Johnson faced popular wrestlers at the time such as June Byers and Penny Banner, and even challenging Mildred Burke for her NWA World Women's Championship. Eventually, Johnson caught Stu Hart's eye and began working for his promotion Big Time Wrestling as well as wrestling at Capitol Wrestling Corporation. In her final years in wrestling, Johnson worked at American Wrestling Association, where her last match was against her sister Marva Scott, in 1976.
Johnson was born Ethel Blanche Wingo in Decatur, Georgia, to Gladys Chase and Clifford Wingo on May 14, 1935. Johnson had two other wrestling sisters: her older sister, Betty (ring name: Babs Wingo), and younger sister, Marva (ring name: Marva Scott).
Johnson took her stage name to differentiate her from Betty, who became a professional at about the same time. They often wrestled each other, but many fans would not know that they were related. Johnson said it was every women's wrestlers' dream to perform in Madison Square Garden, but women's wrestling was banned in New York during her prime. She retired in 1977 without ever performing there.
|2016||Lady Wrestler: The Amazing, Untold Story of African American Women in the Ring||Herself||Documentary|
Championships and accomplishments
- National Wrestling Alliance
- Genzlinger, Neil (November 25, 2019). "Ethel Johnson, Early Black Wrestling Star, Is Dead at 83". The New York Times. Retrieved November 25, 2019.
- Greet, Jamie (February 1, 2018). "Ethel Johnson: The First African-American Female Wrestler (VIDEO)". Last Word on Pro Wrestling.
- Gary, Marlan. "Ethel Blanche Hairston". TheChapelOfPeace.com. Archived from the original on November 26, 2019.
- Erdman, Corey (March 23, 2018). "The Forgotten Story of the First Black Female Wrestlers". Vice. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
- "Lady Wrestlers". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. February 21, 1952. pp. 56–58. ISSN 0021-5996. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
- Laprade, Pat; Murphy, Dan (2017). "Chapter 3: When Millie Met Billy: The Billy Wolf Era". Sisterhood of the Squared Circle: The History and Rise of Women's Wrestling. ECW Press. ISBN 9781773050140. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
- Lindsey, Philip (February 12, 2019). "WWE's bewildering exclusion of first black women wrestlers". Diva Dirt. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
- "Ethel Hairston Obituary - Columbus, OH: The Columbus Dispatch". Legacy.com.
- "Colored Women's World Title". wrestling-titles.com.
- "Ohio Women's Tag Team Title". wrestling-titles.com.
- "Texas Colored Women's Title". wrestling-titles.com.
- Garcia, Raphael (March 20, 2020). "Black History Month In Wrestling Spotlight: Ethel Johnson". Daily DDT.
- This page is based on the Wikipedia article Ethel Johnson (wrestler); it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA.