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Black History Month: Celebrating Change-Makers

 

 

Black History Month: Celebrating Change-Makers


In celebration of Black History Month throughout February, USTA.com takes a look at some of the unsung pioneers who helped to change the face of this sport, and shares the stories of the dynamic personalities who are impacting the game today as players, coaches, and contributors.

Be Open

The USTA's Be Open Campaign highlights those who exemplify the spirit of "being open" and is designed to inspire others to be a catalyst for change and create a better future for us all.
  • Ann Koger
    Middle States
    Player, Coach & Volunteer
    August 03, 2022
    Those connected to tennis in the northeast should already know the name Ann Koger. But even those who know her well are often surprised at her impact on the Black tennis community and the sport as a whole. Read More
  • Rice family on the Marion Rice tennis courts.
    Midwest / Central Indiana
    BHM: Marion Rice
    February 28, 2022
    Indianapolis’s Fred Rice looks back on his life following his father, Marion Rice, around the west side of Indianapolis while he helped grow the tennis community. Marion’s impact on the Indianapolis tennis community is ever-present. Fred shares, “We followed my Dad around, not realizing he was making history. We just wanted to do what he was doing.” And make history, he DID! Read More
  • Middle States
    Community & Tennis
    February 28, 2022
    For nearly four decades, two friends in Delaware have looked at community and tennis as one. The team of Watson Brown and James Monk are two staples of the Delaware-based Sickle Cell Tournament, an event that has brought community groups together annually while raising more than $400,000 overall for sickle cell research. Read More
  • National
    Breaunna Addison on BHM
    February 28, 2022
    In this first-person essay, the associate head tennis coach at Howard University details how she found tennis and how she uses her platform to be a mentor for others. Read More
  • Midwest
    BHM: Steven Ryuse
    February 28, 2022
    Steven Ryuse from Mount Vernon, Ohio won a Big Ten Championship for The Ohio State University in 1977. He's now a tennis instructor and a published author of a memoir titled, I Didn't Know I Was Black: Growing up Black in the White World of Tennis. Learn more about Steven and his journey through tennis. Read More
  • National
    ZGA celebrates 30 years
    February 28, 2022
    Since retiring from tennis, Zina Garrison has used her namesake National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) chapter to give back to the youth of Houston. Read More
  • September 9, 2017 - 2017 US Open Women's Singles Champion Sloane Stephens and Norm Lewis.
    National
    Q&A: Norm Lewis
    February 28, 2022
    Versatile entertainer Norm Lewis discusses his early days playing tennis and the influence that experience has had on his acting and singing career. Read More
  • Trennis Jones speaking into a microphone
    Texas
    BHM: Trennis Jones
    February 28, 2022
    USTA Texas Board of Directors member Trennis Jones shares his memories and perspectives on helping make Texas tennis stronger and more inclusive. Read More
  • Martin Blackman
    National
    Watch: USTA BHM panel
    February 25, 2022
    USTA General Manager for Player & Coach Development Martin Blackman sits down with Ann Koger, Jamea Jackson, Sean Holcomb-Jones and Jon Glover to discuss the state of Black tennis in America, from past, to present to future. Read More
  • Florida
    BHM: Artie Yentumi
    February 24, 2022
    A jack-of-all-trades when it comes to coaching, Artie Yentumi has been teaching tennis in Brevard County for more than ten years and is a Tennis Professional at Kiwi Tennis Club in Indian Harbour Beach. His diligence and dedication to the sport can be felt throughout the courts. Read More
  • National
    Meet ATA's Roxanne Aaron
    February 24, 2022
    She didn't find tennis until she played for fun as a college student. Now, Roxanne Aaron is the leader of the American Tennis Association, the oldest African-American sports organization in the United States. Read More
  • Mid-Atlantic
    Get Social with Tennis
    February 23, 2022
    Black History Month is an opportunity to celebrate and amplify the voices that enrich our tennis community in the Mid-Atlantic. Read how Andrea Rice is creating her community through tennis while sharing it with others across the Section. Read More
  • National
    USTA Community Hubs
    February 23, 2022
    The USTA is undertaking an initiative and offering funding grants to help collegiate tennis facilities become community hubs. Read More
  • Missouri Valley
    Missouri Valley HBCUs
    February 22, 2022
    If you watched the 2021 US Open, you might have seen the celebration of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). But did you know there are three located in our section? Learn a little more about each HBCU and the history behind them. Read More
  • National
    The gifted Ora Washington
    February 22, 2022
    Ora Washington didn’t exude the presence of an imposing superstar, but she carried immutable credentials, not just in one sport, but in two. Read More
  • Florida
    BHM: Bailey & Byrd
    February 21, 2022
    Brothers Dwight Bailey and William Byrd are staples in the Gainesville tennis community. The PTR-certified tennis professionals have organized and hosted the Annual Heritage Tennis Classic Tennis Tournament on the weekend before Martin Luther King Jr. Day for the past 27 years. Read More
  • National
    Marc Atkinson on BHM
    February 21, 2022
    As Director of Tennis at the MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation, Marc Atkinson has a profound influence on the next generation of young tennis players. Read More
  • Florida
    BHM: Mary McCoy
    February 17, 2022
    Mary McCoy is a powerhouse in Daytona Beach and has made major contributions to the Derbyshire community. Her passion for introducing tennis to children in her community is so strong that she founded Derbyshire Community Tennis, Inc., which was officially recognized as a National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) chapter in 2021. Read More
  • Northern California
    BHM: Workeneh Babu
    February 17, 2022
    Meet Workeneh Babu. He is a longtime USTA NorCal leagues and tournament player who has been playing tennis since the 90s. Babu shares his thoughts on the importance of diversity, recognizing Black History Month, and his own nexperience playing tennis. Read More
  • Black History Month - Zina Garrison, Bert Cole, James Blake, Duane Williams
    Texas
    BHM: Leaders Panel
    February 17, 2022
    Groundbreaking tennis professionals Zina Garrison, James Blake along with Texas leaders Bert Cole from the Dallas Tennis Association and Duane Williams, head coach of the Prairie View A&M men's and women's teams shared their perspectives on influences, leaders, and the Black tennis experience. Read More
  • Mid-Atlantic
    Tennis Creates Possibility
    February 16, 2022
    Black History Month is an opportunity to celebrate and amplify the voices that enrich our tennis community in the Mid-Atlantic. Read how Dzarr Daniels is creating opportunities for all through tennis. Read More
  • National
    BHM: McDaniel vs. Budge
    February 15, 2022
    Seven years before Jackie Robinson crossed the color line in Major League Baseball, Jimmie McDaniel slipped past U.S. tennis’ racial barriers with a 1940 encounter vs. Don Budge. Read More
  • Eastern
    BHM: Dr. Emily Moore
    February 14, 2022
    2021 Eastern Hall of Fame inductee Dr. Emily Moore has spent over five decades introducing tennis to children through the Alliance Junior Tennis Development Program, based on Long Island. Beyond her accomplishments in the sport, Moore is a lifelong activist who stood on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement. She also served in the Peace Corps in Nigeria, where she lived through three coups. Read More
  • Florida
    BHM: Harrell Thomas
    February 14, 2022
    Harrell Thomas has been embedded in the Jacksonville tennis community for more than 35 years and doesn’t have any plans on slowing down. The USPTA and PTR certified Elite Professional serves as the Tennis Facility Manager for the City of Jacksonville. Read More
  • Northern California
    BHM: Isaac Graves
    February 14, 2022
    Meet Isaac Graves. He is a high school senior and has committed to play college tennis at William Jessup University this fall, hoping to study computer science. Graves has been playing tennis since he first started walking and he shares his thoughts on the importance of diversity, recognizing Black History Month, and why it's important to go to and play college tennis. Read More
  • Midwest
    Chris Clark's Toss & Spin
    February 11, 2022
    Meet Chris Clark — the founder and business owner of Toss and Spin, a one-of-a-kind racquet sports experience. Think social media content that hypes up players combined with free programming in nine Chicago Park Districts. He’s got ideas for your company outings, lesson plans for all ages and so much more! See how Chris is bridging his corporate sports background with his love of tennis to create a superpower and give back. Read More
  • Florida
    BHM: Camille Rowe
    February 10, 2022
    Camille Rowe of Pensacola got her start in tennis later in life - she participated in USTA Florida’s Love to Learn/Love to Play program in the fall of 2020. She loved her introduction to the game so much, she now actively participates in USTA leagues and keeps the courts occupied. Read More
  • Mid-Atlantic
    Inspiring Changemakers
    February 10, 2022
    Black History Month is an opportunity to celebrate and amplify the voices that enrich our tennis community in the Mid-Atlantic. Read how Corinne Chau is inspiring changemakers across the Section. Read More
  • National
    John Borden on BHM
    February 10, 2022
    As a junior in high school, John Borden got his first coaching position at an NJTL. He's part of the next generation of leaders in tennis looking to spread the sport in their communities. Hear from him in his own words. Read More
  • Southern
    BHM: Vickery & Parks
    February 10, 2022
    Black History Month: Sachia Vickery & Alycia Parks talk about Black players who influenced their careers. Read More
  • Missouri Valley
    BHM: Al Penelton
    February 08, 2022
    The late Alvin ‘Al’ Penelton is considered by many to be one of the greatest service line umpires of all time. Penelton loved many things: his family, tennis and helping the community. Read More
  • Althea Gibson (CQ) and her mentor Hubert Eaton Sr. in  an 1985 file photo taken in Landfall.
    National
    Dr. Hubert A. Eaton
    February 08, 2022
    Dr. Hubert A. Eaton, along with Dr. Robert Walter ‘Whirlwind’ Johnson, helped guide a young Althea Gibson to tennis greatness. Read More
  • Florida
    BHM: J. Russell Kelly
    February 07, 2022
    A community coach at The Point at Wellington, J. Russell Kelly has committed himself to ensuring the game of tennis is accessible to everyone. Read More
  • Eastern
    BHM: Dr. Dale Caldwell
    February 04, 2022
    2021 Eastern Hall of Fame inductee Dr. Dale Caldwell is a renowned tennis historian who served as the first Black president of USTA Eastern. Caldwell established both the Black Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Tennis Hall of Fame's Breaking the Barriers exhibit. Breaking the Barriers, which explores the history of the American Tennis Association and Black tennis players in the twentieth century, was viewed by over 26,000 spectators at the 2007 US Open. Read More
  • Midwest
    BHM: Pharrington Douglass
    February 04, 2022
    Pharrington Douglass grew up playing tennis at Garber Tennis Courts in Saginaw, Michigan. The play area has now been totally re-dedicated: with new courts, new lights and a new facility. Behind it all is the Urban Racquet Sports Foundation, where Pharrington is President. Read his personal journey through tennis, how Garber Courts changed his life and his commitment to future generations who want to learn the game. Read More
  • Head coach Bryan Shelton of the University of Florida with the trophy after defeating Baylor University to win the 2021 NCAA D1 Tennis Championships on Saturday, May 22, 2021 at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Florida. (Manuela Davies/USTA)
    National
    UF Coach Bryan Shelton
    February 04, 2022
    Florida men's tennis coach Bryan Shelton made history in May by winning the 2021 NCAA men’s title with the Gators. For the 2022 season, his focus is simply on improving his players every day. Read More
  • Northern California
    BHM: Kevin Ware
    February 03, 2022
    Meet Kevin Ware, a respected USTA official. In honor of Black History Month, Ware is sharing his unique perspectives on diversity in tennis, the importance of recognizing Black History Month, and his personal tennis story. Read More
  • Florida
    BHM: Maribel Gross
    February 02, 2022
    Maribel Gross is a New York City native who now resides in Largo and can be found on the courts around Pinellas county. The PTR certified teaching professional is a passionate 10 & under tennis coach at the JW Cate Recreation Center in St. Petersburg. Read More
  • National
    ITHOF honors Black tennis
    February 02, 2022
    The International Tennis Hall of Fame has launched a new digital exhibit on the history of Black tennis globally entitled Breaking Boundaries in Black Tennis. Read More
  • Florida
    #AMPLIFY: Deliver Change
    February 01, 2022
    USTA Florida continues to make strides as part of its Amplify initiative to help establish a more inclusive environment for our predominately Black communities across the state. Read More
  • Mid-Atlantic
    BHM: Communities Created
    February 01, 2022
    Black History Month is an opportunity to celebrate and amplify the voices that enrich our tennis community in the Mid-Atlantic. Listen to Mydron Jones and learn how she built a community through tennis in the Mid-Atlantic. Read More
  • National
    Whirlwind Johnson's legacy
    February 01, 2022
    International Tennis Hall-of-Famer Dr. Robert Walter "Whirlwind" Johnson worked to provide Black junior tennis players with opportunities to compete at the game's highest levels. Read More
  • Southern
    BHM: Kids Activity Sheets
    February 01, 2022
    Rocky Warner has designed kids' activity sheets with Black tennis players, including Chanda Rubin and MaliVai Washington. Read More
  • Missouri Valley
    Meet Kim Hughes Gill
    January 31, 2022
    Kim Hughes Gill was recruited by nine colleges to play women’s tennis after her standout prep career at East St. Louis Senior High School concluded in 1979. With aspirations of competing at the NCAA Division-I level, Hughes Gill ultimately elected to attend the University of Tennessee. Read More

Be Open

The USTA's Be Open Campaign highlights those who exemplify the spirit of "being open" and is designed to inspire others to be a catalyst for change in creating a better future for us all.