|John Baker Jr.|
|Sheriff of Wake County, North Carolina|
|Born||June 10, 1935|
Raleigh, North Carolina
|Died||October 31, 2007 (aged 72)|
Raleigh, North Carolina
|No. 73, 78|
|Position:||DE / DT|
|High school:||Raleigh (NC) Washington|
|College:||North Carolina Central|
|NFL Draft:||1958 / Round: 5 / Pick: 56|
|Career NFL statistics|
Early life and education
In 1959 Baker married a woman named Juanita. They remained married until his death.
In the fifth round of the 1958 NFL Draft, Baker was selected by the Los Angeles Rams. Over eleven seasons he played for the Rams (1958–61), Philadelphia Eagles (1962), Pittsburgh Steelers (1963–67) and Detroit Lions (1968). With the Steelers, he was famous for his tackle on New York Giants quarterback Y. A. Tittle in 1964, which left Tittle bloodied and helmet-less.
After Baker retired from the NFL, he worked as an aide for then-U.S. Senator Robert Morgan. He was also appointed to the state Parole Commission in 1970, the first black to do so. Baker was a member of the "Oval Table Gang", an informal group of community leaders that met in Ralph Campbell Jr.'s home to discuss strategies to desegregate Raleigh schools, plan demonstrations, and assist black candidates for public office. He began speaking to youth in community centers and in prison, trying to help them change their lives for good. In 1976 Baker worked on the state presidential campaign of Jimmy Carter.
In 1978, Baker ran for sheriff of Wake County and won. He was repeatedly re-elected and held the position for 24 years. He instituted a way for incarcerated youth to continue their education, and was instrumental in founding the John H. Baker Charter School (which was named after him.)
In 2002 Baker was defeated for re-election as sheriff by Donnie Harrison. He was unsuccessful in a 2006 campaign to regain the office.
Legacy and honors
- 1972 – He was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.
- 2007 – both Baker Jr. and his father Baker Sr. were inducted into the Raleigh Hall of Fame.
- 2008 – The Wake Country Public Safety Center was renamed after John H. Baker Jr. to honor his long service as sheriff.
- McDonald, Thomasi (October 31, 2007). "Former Wake Sheriff John Baker dies". The News & Observer. http://www.newsobserver.com/news/wake/story/755487.html. Retrieved October 31, 2007.
- "Former Sheriff John Baker Dies at 72". WRAL News. November 5, 2007. http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/1987519/.
- Seligson, Paula (June 28, 2013). "Juanita Baker, 78, trailblazer in NC Department of Correction, dies". The News & Observer. https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/community/midtown-raleigh-news/article10348910.html.
- John H. Baker (1935-2007)
- Price, Jay (January 13, 2011). "Ralph Campbell, 64; broke color barrier in state politics". The News & Observer.
- News & Observer: Building to get longtime sheriff's name today[dead link]. Retrieved on September 15, 2008.