On November 23, 1986, the bowler George Branham III became the first African-American to win a PBA event when he took the Brunswick Memorial World Open in Glendale Heights, Illinois. He has enjoyed a substantial career since then, winning five major championships (including the Tournament of Champions in 1993). Branham was born on November 21, 1962, in Detroit, Michigan, to parents Betty and George Branham II.
Looking at it from the other direction, our George Branham, the Jewell’s A.B.C.’s pitcher (and possibly pitcher for NNL teams in the 1920s) and brother of Finest/Finis Branham, had a son named George, his youngest child (listed as one year old) in the 1930 census (in Detroit).
So it seems like there’s an awfully good chance that the first black bowling champion in PBA history was the grandson and great-nephew of Negro League ballplayers. Though I can’t yet definitively link George Branham III to the Negro League George Branham, it should be easy enough to figure out eventually. I’m going to be looking into getting in touch with Branham. In the meantime, if anyone knows anything about this, drop me a line.