Arthur “Buttons” Speakes

Arthur "Buttons" Speakes at Bat, 1969
Arthur “Buttons” Speakes at Bat, 1969

Arthur “Buttons” Speakes was the first African American athlete to be recruited by and receive a scholarship from a predominately white college in Virginia.

Old Dominion Accomplishments

Speakes was one of the best all-around athletes who ever came to Old Dominion University (ODU). Speakes excelled at both baseball and basketball from 1965 to 1969. An Old Dominion Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Speakes amassed a total of 1,005 career points in basketball, and during his senior year, his batting average was .330.


  1. Old Dominion University Photographic and Multimedia Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, Perry Library, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, 23529.
  2. ODU Photographic Collection, Old Dominion University Libraries Digital Collections, Old Dominion University Libraries.
  3. Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion at ODU Timeline, Old Dominion University Libraries Digital Exhibit, 2016-present.


  1. Bookman, Steven and Jessica Ritchie. Old Dominion University: A Campus History Series.  Arcadia Publishing. Charleston, South Carolina, 2017.