African-American alumni achievements


Toiya L. Hancock

James McCorkle ‘66 and Linda Moore Banks ‘66 were the first African-American graduates of Guilford College.//photo courtesy of Toiya L. Hancock ‘93

The Guilfordian would like to celebrate African-American alumni who have made strong impacts in their communities and in the world. While this list does not encapsulate all of the accomplishments of our wide variety of graduates, those selected have made tremendous strides in their careers and can be representatives of black excellence.

M.L. Carr ‘73

M.L. Carr is a member of the Guilford Athletics Hall of Fame as well as the NAIA Hall of Fame. A former men’s basketball standout, Carr was a pillar of the Quakers’ 1973 NAIA national championship team that took down Maryland-Eastern Shore, 99-96. The Quakers finished with a 29-5 overall record that season.

Carr tallied 1,993 career points, a figure standing sixth in school history. He achieved the feat despite playing only 13 games in his senior season. He averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds per game during his senior season and was named an NAIA first team all-American.

Carr’s achieved several milestones in his professional playing career as well. Despite being released from two different pro U.S. camps after graduating, Carr persevered and played in Israel for a season before joining the American Basketball Association’s St. Louis Spirits. The ABA folded, and Carr was drafted to the National Basketball Association’s Detroit Pistons. He played there for three seasons and signed with the Celtics in 1979. Carr won two NBA championships with Boston.

The Wallace, North Carolina, native’s jersey number (30) was retired by Guilford in 2009 and hangs in Ragan-Brown Field House. He is a current member of the College’s Board of Trustees and helped accumulate $56 million as tri-chair of Guilford’s Our Time in History capital campaign. In 2018, Carr was inducted into the Small College Basketball Hall of Fame.

James McCorkle ‘66

James McCorkle became the College’s first African-American traditional student in 1962. He turned down a full scholarship from Morehouse College to attend the Guilford. The chemistry major and education minor joined the Peace Corps. He taught in Malaysia and West Africa, and spent 42 years teaching in the Forsyth County School system. He is a member of the Black Alumni of Guilford College Advisory Board.

Linda Moore Banks ‘66

Linda Moore Banks studied at Bennett College as part of a Saturday School for advanced high school students with Guilford religion professor Frederic Crownfield before coming to Guilford College at the age of 16 in 1963, and graduated three years later. Raised by educators who taught her “color is only skin deep,” she worked within Duke University’s Department of Immunology, the University of Virginia’s Preventive Medicine program and as a research technician of the Pathology department at East Carolina University after graduating from Guilford.

She attended East Carolina to earn a Bachelors in Science in Elementary Education, and she taught students from elementary ages to adult students before retiring.

Tony Womack ‘92

A Danville, Virginia, native, Tony Womack played two baseball seasons at Guilford College before being drafted in the seventh round of the 1991 Major League Baseball draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. As a Guilford athlete, Womack hit .337 with 37 stolen bases and also played for the 1990 Quakers’ football team, where he ranked among the national kickoff returns leaders in his lone season.

Though he started his professional career in 1991 before graduating, he returned to the campus to complete requirements and earned his bachelor’s degree the following year. Womack received the 1991 Best Undergraduate Male Athlete Award and the 1992 English Athletic Leadership Award from Guilford.

Womack worked his way through Pittsburgh’s minor-league system and joined the Major League in 1993. He played 16 seasons as a professional baseball player and won the World Series in 2001 as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was traded to Arizona from Pittsburgh in 1999. The Wall Street Journal noted Womack’s game-tying double in the ninth inning of the Series’ seventh game against New York as the most significant clutch hit in the Major League’s postseason history.

World B. Free

Though he was drafted into the NBA before his senior year in 1975, World B. Free had a decorated career for the men’s basketball team. Free played alongside M.L. Carr on the 1973 National Championship team and received the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award as a first-year, the first to achieve such feat. He is Guilford’s all-time scoring average leader at 23.6 per game. He was a two-time NAIA All-American in his sophomore and junior campaigns, and named the NAIA player of the year in the 1974-1975 season.

He was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers and named all-rookie NBA in 1976. He played 13 seasons for four different teams before retiring in 1988 as the sixth-leading scorer among NBA guards.

Free received the Philadelphia Sports Congress Community Service Award in 2005 and was named the Philadelphia 76ers’ Director of Player Development in 2006.

Dr. Melrose Nimmo ‘66

A Greenville, North Carolina, native, Dr. Melrose Nimmo was decorated in degrees. He received his Bachelor of Science from Shaw University, followed by a Doctor of Chiropractor degree from the Lincoln Chiropractic College located in Indianapolis.

He earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree from the Southeastern Seminary of Wake Forest and a Master of Arts degree in Religion from Guilford at age 45.

The class of 1966 graduate valued education and wanted to stay on a career path that allowed the opportunity for him to be in a position to assist others around him. He served as a public school teacher at City High School located in Bethel, North Carolina while serving as a chiropractic physician in Greensboro. He became the pastor of Bethal Institutional Missionary Baptist Church, located in Houston, Texas, in 1967. He stayed in this role before he passed away in 1999.