*Several* Women to Know: The Wake-Robin Golf Club

People had it set in their mind that black women didn't belong on the course. — Winifred Stanford, WRGC member

(image via Black History Historical Photo Archive)

When Helen Webb-Harris and her friends founded the Wake-Robin Golf Club in 1938, their mission was simple: "To perpetuate golf among Negro women, to make potential players into champions and to make a permanent place for Negro women in the world of golf."

Mission accomplished, and then some.

Their first course was built on trash — literally. The club broke ground at a garbage dump on the outskirts of Washington, DC. But the far-less-than-ideal conditions didn't slow the group mission.

The WRGC — the the only club for African-American women golfers in the world — had been petitioning the secretary of the interior for a place where they could play. The trash pile wasn't their perfect course, but the members knew it was a start of something big. By 1941, they'd successfully desegregated every public golf course in Washington.

"Under a system of racism, in an atmosphere of sexism, black women playing golf was not a light matter," said Karen Jefferson, manuscript librarian at Howard University. "It was a political act."

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