Black Tennis Hall of Fame

Welcome to the Black Tennis Hall of Fame where we honor individuals who have broken through the barriers of race and class to achieve success in the wonderful sport of tennis.

Tennis has become the world’s second most popular sport largely because of the geographic, cultural, stylistic and racial diversity of its professionals.  The sport has developed passionate fans of different backgrounds because of this diversity.  Unfortunately, diversity was not always encouraged by the sport’s leadership.  Most people are familiar with the tennis and life successes of Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe.  However, because of racial discrimination in tennis and America, few people know the incredible story of the many talented players who were not allowed to compete in major tennis tournaments because of their race.

For over fifty years prior to Gibson’s victories, blacks had been competing in club and regional tournaments.  Banned from entering segregated events, African American tennis enthusiasts in 1916 formed their own organization, the American Tennis Association (ATA), to provide blacks with the opportunity to play competitive tennis on a national level.  Their struggle to gain equal access to tennis paralleled the struggle of all blacks to gain equal access to American society.

The Black Tennis Hall of Fame (BTHOF) was founded to honor the achievements of those individuals who achieved success in tennis and life in spite of the many barriers that they faced, as well as those who helped them achieve those successes. We honor these individuals by permanently inducting them into the Black Tennis Hall of  Fame.

The Black Tennis Hall of Fame, Inc. logo was designed by Dale Caldwell and drawn by his younger brother Paul Douglass Caldwell in 2008.  The logo includes a drawing of Dr. Walter Johnson, Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe, Jr.  Dr. Johnson was the legendary coach of Althea Gibson (the first African American world tennis champion) and Arthur Ashe (the first African American male world champion).  Dale felt that it was appropriate to honor the first people who transcended race to achieve global greatness in tennis.  The color of the logo is red, black and green.  The color red was chosen to symbolize the blood that was shed for equal rights, the color black was chosen to represent the color of the people fighting for equal rights, and the color green symbolized the bountiful land of a society where vegetation and equal rights flourish.

Mission Statement

The Black Tennis Hall of Fame is a non-profit, privately funded organization dedicated to preserving the history of African American tennis and honoring those who made exemplary contributions to the sport, with special consideration extended to those who overcame racial barriers.