This Day in Black History: July 29, 1940

American professional tennis integrates for the first time.

Posted: 07/29/2013 12:15 AM EDT


On July 29, 1940, African-American tennis players were able to swing their tennis rackets on the same court as their white counterparts. Interracial matches were held for the first time ever on the courts of Cosmopolitan Tennis Club in New York City.

Grand Slam tennis legend Don Budge and American Tennis Association champion Jimmy McDaniel desegregated the sport in a game that ended in Budge’s favor, 6-1 and 6-2. Budge then teamed up with American Tennis Association player Dr. Reginald Weir in an interracial doubles match against Richard Cohen and McDaniel. Weir would later go on to become the first African-American to compete in the U.S. Indoor Lawn Tennis Championship in 1948.

"The color line was erased, at least temporarily, for the first time in the history of major American Tennis yesterday,” wrote Ed Hughes for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.  

Prior to 1940, African-Americans were prohibited from joining any tournaments authorized by the United States Lawn Tennis Association and snubbed from participating in friendly matches.

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(Photo: GettyImages)

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