Hern, Alec

Coach of Olympic Bronze medalist, Albie Axelrod. Axelrod won 4 US foil titles and fenced on 5 Olympic teams.   Hern learned to fence from the Senac fencing book (Spalding red book series)which he purchased for 25 cents  and was hired to teach fencing all across New York City under the Works Progress Administration.  Louis Senac later hired Hern to coach at his club on West 72nd Street.  Hern developed his own system of beats and parries with unusual angulations and he singlehandedly spread fencing to thousands of individuals and began a program in Harlem as well that led to the first black fencers in New York history. 
Violet Barker, the first black to become a member of the AFLA was not allowed in the door of the NYFC in the late 1930’s and her membership card was destroyed.  Hern started a lawsuit against the AFLA but Barker would have nothing to do with it and it was dropped.  Hern opened his own club on 14th street and trained many whites and blacks but was openly ridiculed by the other NY clubs for allowing minorities to gain membership.