Nathan Boya (real name William Fitzgerald) was the first African American to go over Niagara Falls. Very little is known about Fitzgerald. He claimed to be self-employed, but others have claimed he worked for IBM. On July 15, 1961, Fitzgerald went over the Horseshoe Falls in a rubber ball he designed called the "Plunge-O-Sphere". Performing stunts on the Falls could only be performed with permission, following the death of William Hill, Jr in 1951. Fitzgerald did not obtain a permit to do his stunt and was arrested and fined after completing it. After this, Fitzgerald did not make public appearances until 1985, when he attended Karel Soucek's funeral and in 1988 protesting discriminatory actions against a scientist he called "Dr. X".
Interviewed in 2012 for a National Geographic television special about Niagara daredevils, Fitzgerald revealed his reason for his stunt, after decades of silence: He had broken off his engagement, to a woman that he felt he had wronged, and he performed the dangerous stunt as a form of penance. Niagara had been their planned honeymoon destination.
- List of objects that have gone over Niagara Falls
- Jean Lussier, the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a rubber ball.
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