*Several* Women to Know: The Wake-Robin Golf Club
|Julia Carpenter||Mar 6, 2017|
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."
Add to your library list:
The African American Woman Golfer: Herself (M. Mikell Johnson)
Game Changers: The Unsung Heroines of Sports History (Molly Schiott)
"In those days, to see a black girl playing golf, you were somebody" (The Undefeated)
For years, black golfers' best club was their own (The Washington Post)
Ethel Funches, black women's golf champion, dies at 96 (The Washington Post)
Helen W. Harris, former schoolteacher and playwright, dies (The Washington Post)
For black women, golf wasn't easy (The Washington Post)
The Wake-Robin Golf Club founded (African American Registry)
Women Golfers (Getty Images)
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