Charles Kastner

Independent Historian

Charles Kastner is a Seattle based writer and financial manager.  The University of New Mexico Press published his history of the first footrace across America in 2007.  He has also contributed chapters to two books dealing with his experience as Peace Corps Volunteer as well as writing for Marathon and Beyond and Northwest Runner magazines. He holds advanced degrees in business, history, and environmental biology.

Eddie “the Sheik” Gardner: An Ultramarathoning Legend and Unsung Hero in the Struggle for Racial Equality in America.

Eddie Gardner Crossing the Mississippi River at St. Louis, 1929 “Image Courtesty of Charles Kastner” In the following account, sports historian Charles Kastner describes the remarkable athletic career of Eddie “the Sheik” Gardner of Seattle, Washington. Gardner was arguably the greatest ultramarathoner in Pacific Northwest … Read MoreEddie “the Sheik” Gardner: An Ultramarathoning Legend and Unsung Hero in the Struggle for Racial Equality in America.

Frank “Black Dan” Hart (1858-1908)

Frank Hart with O’Leary Championship Belt, 1881 Image Ownership: Public Domain In the late 1870’s and early 1880’s, the sport of “six day, go as you please” endurance racing gripped the United States and Great Britain.  The participants in these events were called pedestrians, and … Read MoreFrank “Black Dan” Hart (1858-1908)

The 1928 Bunion Derby: America’s Brush with Integrated Sports

In the following account sports historian Charles Kastner describes the Bunion Derby, the 1928 cross country footrace that captured the nation’s attention in the spring of 1928 and the remarkable group of black runners who participated in that event. For a detailed discussion of the … Read MoreThe 1928 Bunion Derby: America’s Brush with Integrated Sports

Samuel L. Robinson (1896-1964?)

(Image Courtesy of Chartles Kastner) Samuel L. Robinson was born in Kansas in 1896. He arrived in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in his teens, where he attended the city’s integrated high school.  He joined the school’s football team and became a close friend of the … Read MoreSamuel L. Robinson (1896-1964?)

Toby Joseph Cotton Jr. (1913–1978)

Image Ownership: Public Domain Toby Joseph Cotton, Jr., was born in Louisiana on March 2, 1913.  By 1916, his family had migrated to Portland, Oregon before moving to Los Angeles, where his father worked as an auto mechanic.  In 1925, Toby Cotton, Sr. was severely … Read MoreToby Joseph Cotton Jr. (1913–1978)

Edward Gardner (1898-1966)

Ed Gardner Somewhere in Oklahoma in the Bunion Derby, 1928 Image Courtesy of Charles Kastner Championship cross country runner Edward Gardner was born in Birmingham, Alabama in December 1898. Shortly after his birth, his family moved west and eventually settled in Seattle. Gardner returned to … Read MoreEdward Gardner (1898-1966)