African Americans and Golf During Jim Crow

Many members of the Flowers family enjoyed playing golf. So, I decided to educate myself on blacks in golf during Rachel’s lifetime. I have found three articles pertaining to Rachel’s interest and success in golf. The first was published by the Philadelphia Tribune on June 12, 1941:

1st one

Another article references Ms. Flowers going to a golf tournament in Boston:

2nd one

Also in a photo of Ms. Flowers she is listed as being in the Quaker City Golf Club:

Quaker City Golf Club

On August 9, 1941, The Chicago Defender covered an article about Rachel Flowers leading Philadelphia’s fair sex golf club in Boston for the UGA. I actual lost the electronic version of the article and I do not remember where I got it from because I never had access to the Chicago Defender. Sorry.

From other articles I read, Rachel and other members of her family were not only part of the Quaker City Golf Club, but also the Fairview Golf Club, the first black golf club in Pennsylvania started by John Milton Lee (Ross, Lawrence C. The Divine Nine. Dafina Books, 2001). {The Divine Nine is a book about the Black Greek Fraternities and Sororities. I was actually excited when I got this book, it was a good, but very long. }

So, I picked up this book from my school’s library called African American Golfers During the Jim Crow Era by Marvin P. Dawkins and Graham C. Kinloch. This book gave the history of blacks in golf, prominent matches, and players. About the history of blacks in golf, it states:

“ Aspiring black golfers faced playing barriers more than the purely racial, however, the game’s popularity increased significantly among them, leading to the establishment of their own national organization in 1926, the United States Golfer Association (UGA).”

Now, the PGA was an elite golf association that maintained a white only membership in its constitution until 1961, but continued to exclude minorities in the South up until the 1990s. According to this book, the Fairview Golf Club was establish between 1920-1929 in Philadelphia, PA.

This book was an interesting read. I am not a golf fan, I think I watched it once or twice when Tiger Woods was playing. I know that there is a caddy, a tee, a club, and a ball, but other than that I am clueless. So, I am reading…well skimming and as I continue to browse through the book I hit a table for the UGA 16th National Open Golf Championship from 1941. As I was browsing through the names, I saw a name that looked familiar:

Golf Surprise

.There she was, I know the last numbers mean score, but I am not sure about the other numbers or whether her score was good or bad, yet that did not matter, I found her in a book. AND to make sure that this was her, I notice that the article in the Chicago Defender was from this UGA championships, so I made sure that some of the other golfers reference in the article were also on the list.

Mission accomplish, even though it was a small reference, I found her in a book. I was really excited and then after a few minutes I was just thinking to myself this whole time I was looking for a reference for her in a book and there was one in the library the entire time.

Until the next post. Classes have started, so no more long ones.

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