In the midst of our nation's most perilous times, people of color relentlessly found ways to gather amongst themselves to share similar interests through socialization. When we weren't able or welcomed to socialize in specific places, we created our own. For generations we were forced to thrive from within, establishing our very own places to gather. When there was no space for us, we created our own from schools, churches, social clubs, and even athletic clubs.
At the turn of the 20th century, people of color were not permitted to join organizations formed by and for white people. This included the United States Lawn Tennis Association in 1916. It was through segregation the American Tennis Association was formed and became the nation’s first professional sports league for African Americans.
In 1922, a group of Durham tennis enthusiasts organized a club to provide a place to play the game and socialize. After 12 years of meeting in private homes, the Algonquin Tennis Club House was purchased in 1934. They aimed to provide African American tennis players a safe place to gather and play. It was this history that inspired Kenyata Thomas to create the Charlotte Black Tennis Club.
The Charlotte Black Tennis Club fosters an environment for tennis players of color, fortified by generations of history, health awareness, and community engagement. We aim to promote diversity within the sport by welcoming and encouraging all skill levels to not only become better athletes but to also be of service to our communities and future generations of tennis players of color.