Day 9 – Persistence

June 26th, 2021

Today, on our final day of the bus tour, we stopped at Clearview Golf Club in Canton, Ohio. Started by a black man named Bill Powell in 1948, Clearview Golf Club has become a nationally recognized golf course and is known for its legacy of “Golf for Everyone,” no matter the race. Mr. Powell, who had developed an interest in golf at an early age, was consistently prohibited from accessing many golf courses because of his skin color. So, he decided to build his own golf course where skin color didn’t matter. Mr. Powell has since passed, but we met with his daughter, Dr. Renee Powell, who is one of the most distinguished black female professional golfers. In 1967, she became the first African American woman to compete on the LPGA Tour. In 1973, she won the Kelly Springfield Open in Australia. Now, Renee is the LPGA/PGA Head Golf Professional at Clearview where she’s keeping her father’s legacy of “Golf for Everyone” alive.

One theme that stuck out to me as we heard the history of Clearview Golf Club was persistence. Mr. Powell could have easily given up on golf when no courses would admit him, but he persisted. He could have accepted that his golf course was going to be subpar because it was constructed on dilapidated farmland, but he proceeded to create a beautiful golf course that exceeded the expectations of his white counterparts. Renee, too, learned to persist at an early age, as golf is not nearly as popular among females, let alone black females. The theme of persistence has been evident throughout this entire bus tour. Over and over, we’ve heard stories of black Americans who took non-violent stands against hypocritical societal norms and were continuously taunted, beaten, burned, thrown in jail, and killed for their simple cry for true equality. Though they had thousands of reasons to give up, they persisted for the one reason that mattered the most.

Jane Mylin