Pioneers of tennis will be honoured this Saturday in Los Angeles at the Harvard Recreation Center. Connors, Borg, King, Evert, and Navratilova will not be there. The guests of honour are African-American tennis greats Dee Williams Horne, Don Bly, Earthna Jacquet, Mel “Bo Bo” Lewis, Ted Lumpkin, Jean Richardson, and Larry Smith.
Williams Horne was a United States Tennis Association National Public Parks champion in the 1980s and 90s. She continues to slay the competition in mixed doubles to this day. Bly has been playing for over 40 years, helping to coordinate tennis programs for inner city youth. Jacquet was the 1954 National American Tennis Association champion. Lewis won gold at the 2011 Babolat World Tennis Classic for the Men’s 80s division.
Lumpkin received Chairman’s recognition from the West Coast African American Tennis Hall of Fame and is also a Tuskegee Airman. Richardson was inducted into the 2012 Hall of Fame, hosted by the Williams sisters. Smith is ranked 9th in the country for Men’s 60 Singles.
Most of the players were “parkies”, meaning that their tennis developed in public parks and rec centers rather than exclusive clubs. The Harvard Park, host to this event, is a prime example of community outreach through tennis play and lessons.
To see these living legends and play some tennis, get to Harvard at 1535 W 62nd St Los Angeles, CA 90047 by 10:00 AM. The event goes until 1PM. The weather man promises clear skies, so bring your sun gear. This event is hosted by the Pete Brown Scholarship Fund, which funds coaching and tennis equipment for inner city kids in Los Angeles and beyond.
You can watch black history documentaries on Netflix all day, or get out in the community and see living black history in action.
With thanks to Crystal Williams