“Honoring the Legacy: A Tribute to African-Americans in Golf” is a celebration of the accomplishments of African-Americans in the game and a testament to their love of the game despite facing steep challenges.
(See photos and video of the ribbon cutting ceremony below.)
Developed with the support of the PGA of America, the PGA TOUR and the USGA, this permanent exhibition contains rare photographs, audio, video and memorabilia to highlight the long, rich history of African-Americans in golf starting with pioneers from the late 1800s through today’s game.
Hall of Fame member Charlie Sifford’s PGA Player Card from 1960, the document that officially broke golf’s color barrier, is one of many items on display, along with others from 1985 PLAYERS champion Calvin Peete, boxing legend Joe Louis and tennis great Althea Gibson. Tablet technology featuring profiles of prominent African-Americans in golf along with an interactive, touch-screen video display make this one of the Hall of Fame’s most advanced exhibits.
The centerpiece of the new exhibition is an original sculpture designed by the renowned sculptor Mario Chiodo. This thought-provoking piece celebrates 13 African-American golf legends and represents an historic timeline of African-Americans in golf. For the sculptor, it demonstrates the struggles these pioneers faced from the late 19th century through to today and the progress that has been made. It is a statement of social justice and humanity.
Each step of the ladder signifies a milestone of achievement, beginning with John Shippen in 1896, the first African-American to play in the U. S. Open Championship, and at the top stands Tiger Woods. Beyond Woods there is an open rung which asks the question of who is next.
However, the sculpture goes beyond that. It is shaped in the form of a helix symbolizing both the progression of a perfect golf swing as well as the structure of a DNA strand, showing that in life as in golf there is very little difference between the races of mankind and that we all have a place in golf and in the world.
(See photos of the sculpture as it was being created in slideshow below.)