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American Tennis Association: Oldest African American Sports Organization In U.S.

Black History: Special Delivery!!

ata

The game of tennis dates back to the medieval era. The more modern form of lawn tennis that is played today was patented by Walter C. Wingfield, in Great Britain in 1874; with the first Wimbledon tournament being played in 1877. In the United States, the first tennis court was built in 1876. Some historically black colleges (HBCU’s) began offering tennis to its students beginning in the 1890’s. African American tennis players began playing in invitational tournaments at Philadelphia’s Chautauqua Tennis Club in 1898. When the United States Lawn Tennis Association( (USLTA) formally banned blacks from playing in its tournaments a group of African American men met to begin planning for an organization that would allow blacks to compete in the sport competitively. The group initially met on November 30, 1916. The American Tennis Association (ATA) was officially launched, and held its first national championships in August 2017. The championships consisted of three events, (men’s and women’s singles and men’s doubles) at Druid Park in Baltimore, MD.

Continue reading “American Tennis Association: Oldest African American Sports Organization In U.S.”

Richard Ewell: 1st African American To Win National Figure Skating Title

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

 

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Richard Ewell

 

Richard Ewell was the first African American to win national skating titles in pair skating (1972) and singles skating (1970).  He won the pair skating title with African American skater Michelle McCladdie.  Ewell’s first figure skating coach was the legendary African American skater, Mabel Fairbanks.  Ewell later went on star in Icecapades and now coaches figure skating in California.

http://figureskating.about.com/od/profilesoffamousskaters/tp/afroamskaters.htm

http://figureskating.about.com/od/profilesoffamousskaters/tp/afroamskaters.htm

https://blackmail4u.com/2015/10/12/mabel-fairbanks-african-american-pioneer-in-figure-skating/

 

 

Burl Toler: 1st African American NFL Official

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

 

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Bud Toler (1928-2009) 1st African American NFL Official

 

Burl Toler (1928-2009) takes his place in history as the very first African American official in the National Football League (NFL).  Toler is also known for his career as a college football player at the University of San Francisco.  The team was undefeated and untied in 1951 but was denied a bowl game because of their refusal to leave two African American players behind, Burl Toler and Ollie Matson.  Toler later became a 9th round draft pick for the Cleveland Browns but never played a game for the team due to a knee injury he sustained in a college game.

Toler began officiating for the NFL in 1965; making him the first African American official in a major American professional team sport.  Toler’s career spanned 25 years as a head linesman and field judge in the NFL.  He was also the first African American official to work in a Super Bowl Game.  Toler retired in 1990.

While Toler was the first African American official in the NFL.  Johnny Grier was the first African American to be an NFL referee.  In professional football there are several on-field officials.  Many times, these roles can be referred to as a “referees”.  So technically speaking, Grier was the first African American “referee” in the NFL.  However, Toler remains the first African American official in the NFL.  Toler died at the age of 81 in 2009.

 

Sources:

http://thegrio.com/2009/08/21/first-black-nfl-official-dies-at-81/

http://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Burl-Toler-NFL-s-first-black-official-dies-3288983.php

John B. McClendon, Jr: Creator Of The Fast Break, Zone Press, And 4 Corners Offense

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

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John B. McClendon, Jr. (1915 – 1999)

 

John B. McLendon, Jr. (1915-1999) was trailblazing African American basketball coach.  He is also recognized as the first African American basketball coach at a predominately white university and the first African American coach of a professional sports team.

McClendon, Jr.’s attended Sumner High School in Kansas City.  While an all around athlete, McClendon, , Jr., did not play basketball while in high school.  He was born in Hiawatha, KS and graduated from University of Kansas with a degree in physical education.  He studied basketball at Kansas and was trained by the creator of the sport, Dr. James Naismith. McClendon Jr. was not allowed to play of the varsity team at the University of Kansas because he was black.  However, he would go on to build an impressive career as a coach winning 8 CIAA (Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association) championships.  McClendon, Jr. also invented several aspects of the game including the fast break, zone press, and four corners offense. Continue reading “John B. McClendon, Jr: Creator Of The Fast Break, Zone Press, And 4 Corners Offense”

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