Black History: Special Delivery!!
The National Negro Bowling Association (NNBA) was founded on August 20, 1939 in Detroit, MI. At that time, the majority of bowling organizations did not allow blacks to become members. In many cases it was actually written into the constitution of organizations that only whites could be members. The NNBA held its first tournament in Cleveland, OH in 1939 which featured teams from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin. There was representation from other states as well. However, bowlers from Cleveland, Chicago, and Detroit dominated the association until the 1950’s.
NNBA underwent a name change in 1944 and became The National Bowling Association (TNBA). TNBA welcomed members all races. However, its membership remained largely African American. In the coming years bowling associations such as Women’s International Bowling Congress and the American Bowling Congress, which did not admit African Americans began to open their membership to all races. The NAACP was working diligently at that time to apply legal pressures to segregated organizations to force racial integration.
The National Bowling Association is still in existence today with chapters and leagues across the United States.