For previous posts in this series click here.
We began Day 9 in Middletown, Ohio and ended it back in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. It was an amazing trip and I was blessed to have experienced it with my wife Joy and my youngest daughter Caroline. We spent a lot of time in the car on the drive home to the Harrisburg area discussing all that we learned.
Thanks to Todd Allen and the staff of Common Ground Project for all of their work in making this tour a success. I am also happy to report that Messiah College will be the new base of operation for the Returning to the Roots of Civil Rights Tour. Todd will be joining us in the Fall as a professor in the Department of Communications and special assistant to the president for diversity affairs.
Our only stop on Day 9 was the historic Clearview Golf Club in Canton, Ohio. The golf course was designed and constructed in 1946 by William “Bill” Powell. When Powell returned to Minerva, Ohio after serving in the Air Force during World War II he was banned from all-white golf courses and could not obtain a bank loan to build his own course. (Powell learned the game as a boy from working at a golf club in Canton. He went on to captain the golf team at Wilberforce University). He eventually found two doctors willing to help him buy a piece of farmland in East Canton and went to work on building Clearview Golf Club. He worked on the course during the day and, in order so support his family, worked as a security guard from 3-11pm. In 1948 Clearview opened as an integrated course–the only course in the United States designed, constructed, owned, and operated by an African American. Here is a USGA video on Powell and Clearview:
Our host at Clearview was Powell’s daughter Renee Powell, the club professional. Renee spent thirteen years (1967-1980) on the LPGA tour and was the second black golfer to play on the tour. (Althea Gibson was the first). Since then she has been an ambassador for golf around the world.
Here are some more pics: