His two most famous roles were probably con man Luther Coleman in the movie "The Sting" and being the father of James Earl Jones, he was a boxer in his youth
There is some dispute about his actual date of birth. A family Bible says he was born in 1904 while Social Security records say 1910. The story in his family is that he lied about his age (making himself younger) to promote his boxing career. The Social Security system only came into existence later.