Historically Black Colleges & Universities Alum Impact the World of Tennis

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Tuskegee University tennis was a force to reckon with. Photo courtesy of Tuskegee University Athletics.

With a seventh U.S. Open title on the line at this year's tournament, Serena Jameka Williams can break Steffi Graf's Grand Slam and record of 186 consecutive weeks at #1 in the world rankings. Owning 22 of tennis' most coveted prizes, "Meeka" can surpass Chris Evert for most U.S. Open singles titles won in the Open Era, inching closer to Australian Margaret Court's all-time mark of 24 Grand Slam championships.

Williams, her sister, Venus, and several touring professional tennis players of color are standing on the shoulders of giants. Many of those giants call HBCUs and MSIs their home. Here's a list of some of those that have and continue to impact the world of tennis.  

  • Althea Gibson, Florida A&M University
  • Ann Koger, Morgan State University
  • Arthur Carrington, Hampton University 
  • Benny Sims, Texas Southern University 
  • Bessie Stockard, Tuskegee University 
  • Beverly Coleman, Tennessee A & I University
  • Bonnie Logan, Morgan State University
  • Carl Benjamin, Central State College 
  • Casaja Allen Qualls, Haskell Indian Junior College
  • Cleveland Abbott, Tuskegee Institute 
  • Cliff Johnson, Prairie View A&M University 
  • David Dinkins, Howard University 
  • David Webster, Prairie View A&M University 
  • Dawn Kelly Allen, Haskell Indian Junior College
  • Delise O'Meally Morgan State University

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Bonnie Logan of Morgan State University. Photo courtesy of Bonnie Logan.

  • Dr. Herman Neilsen, Hampton University 
  • Dr. Holly Mullan Haskell Indian Junior College
  • Dr. Hubert A. Eaton, Sr. Johnson C. Smith University
  • Dr. R. Walter Johnson, Lincoln University (PA) and Meharry Medical College
  • Dr. Richard "Dick" Cohen, Xavier University of Louisiana
  • Dr. Robert M. Screen, Hampton University
  • Ernest McCampbell, Tuskegee University
  • Gerald Norman, Howard University
  • Harmon Fitch, Johnson Smith University
  • Harry Edmonds, Winston-Salem State University 
  • Hazel Smith, Tuskegee Institute
  • Herbert J. Provost, Texas Southern University
  • Jimmie McDaniel, Xavier University of Louisiana
  • John Wilkerson, Texas Southern University
  • Johnny Sample, Maryland State College

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The original "Williams Sisters," Margaret and Matilda Roumania Peters of Tuskegee University were known as "Pete and Re-Pete." Courtesy of Tuskegee University Athletics.

  • Larry Strickland, Howard University
  • Linwood Skinner, Winston-Salem State University 
  • Lucy Diggs Slowe, Howard University
  • Luis Glass, Hampton University
  • Marcus Freeman, Prairie View A&M University and Texas A&M University
  • Margaret Peters, Tuskegee University
  • Matilda Roumania Peters, Tuskegee University
  • Nathaniel Jackson Tuskegee University
  • Nathaniel Vivians, Tuskegee Institute
  • Noah Allen, Haskell Indian Junior College
  • Rick Davis, Texas Southern University 
  • Thomas Jefferson, Lincoln University (MO)
  • Wilbert "Billy" Davis, Tennessee A&I State College
  • William Earl "Bill" Shelton, Saint Paul's College 
  • Yvonne Hoard, Lincoln University (MO)
  • Quick Facts
    • The Colored Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1912-50), is the oldest African American athletic conference in the United States, later became the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association.
    • The CIAA's first championship winning tennis team was Howard University's Men's Tennis in 1923-24. 
    • 2001-02 marked the first CIAA Women's Tennis Championship with Fayetteville State University claiming victory.
    • Prairie View A&M University Men's Tennis claimed the first Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship in 1938.
    • Southern University claimed the SWAC's first Women's Championships in 1988.
    • In 1972 North Carolina Central University won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference first Men's championship; South Carolina State University Women's Tennis program did so in 1986.
    • The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics is home to several MSIs. The winner of the NAIA's first Men's championship was Pepperdine University in 1952; Grand Canyon University (Ariz.) won the women's title in 1982.

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    Howard University Women's Tennis in the 1930s. Photo courtesy of Howard University Athletics.