On this day in 1940, the color barrier was broken in major American tennis


Dr. Reginald S. Weir of New York, first African American to ever appear in a national championship sponsored by the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association, prepares to leave the court in Seventh Regiment Armory, New York City, March 11, 1948, after opening round play in 45th National Indoor Tennis Championships. (AP Photo/Jack Harris)
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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 Black man 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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