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Michelle S. Hite

professional tennis player and professional golfer. Althea Gibson was born to Annie Bell Gibson and Daniel Gibson on a cotton farm in Silver, South Carolina. Her family settled in Harlem when Gibson was three years old. Constantly on the move, Gibson wandered her neighborhood streets in search of an outlet for her boundless energy.

The obvious talent Gibson exhibited at the Harlem River Tennis Courts, where she trained with the saxophonist Buddy Walker, led to a meeting with the illustrious American Tennis Association (ATA) champion Fred Johnson. The ATA governed competition for black players categorically excluded from white sporting organizations like the U.S. National Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA). With Johnson as her coach, Gibson earned early success in the 1942 New York State Open Championship Following this victory she competed in her first ATA national tournament where she made it to the finals She won the girls ATA ...

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Golf  

For information on:

Beginnings of golf as an African American sport: See Sports and African Americans.

African and African American: See Elder; Gibson; Woods.

Article

Golf  

Karen Jean Hunt

African American women’s interest in golf began in the early part of the twentieth century. Most of the women had been taught to play by their husbands or fathers. Although there were few opportunities to play professional golf, Marie Thompson, of Chicago, Illinois, became the first African American woman to win a major tournament. On Labor Day weekend in 1926, Thompson won the first Negro National Open, the premier golfing event for African Americans, at the Mapledale Country Club in Stow, Massachusetts. The United States Colored Golf Association (USCGA) sponsored the competition, which offered a place for talented African Americans to compete at a time when they were not allowed to do so in white tournaments. In 1929 the USCGA changed its name to the United Golf Association UGA Although African American women were originally allowed to participate in the National Open championship a separate women s ...

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Golf  

Wesley Borucki

Few African Americans have starred in the professional ranks of golf compared to their Euro-American counterparts (Tiger Woods could be seen as the obvious exception), but nonetheless they have made many contributions to the game as players and even caddies. Those competitors excluded for decades from competition on the PGA Tour formed their own tour, a training ground for those who would go on to integrate the tour.

Important African American contributions to golf date back to the 1800s. Dr. George Franklin Grant, a Boston dentist, received a patent for wooden golf tees in 1899, but he never marketed them. Sporting goods manufacturer Spalding profited from his invention in the 1920s, well after Grant's death. The first African American professional golfer, John Shippen, competed in the 1896 U S Open at Shinnecock Hills Country Club in New York where he caddied and learned golf from ...