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 Wake-Robin Golf Club

The golf meetings began in the northwestern D.C. home of Helen Webb-Harris, a school teacher and a golf widow, the term for wives who lose their working husbands’ spare time to the golf course.

During the meetings, the young women reviewed literature about the rules of the sport. They also watched the women play on a nine-hole golf course, converted from an abandoned trash dump by the city.

During the Jim Crow era, some women of Wake-Robin putted onto municipally owned white-only golf courses, such as East Potomac, their presence a protest while crowds hurled racial slurs, rocks, eggs or golf balls at them.

“That didn’t stop us,” said Winnie Stanford, 94, a board member who is listed as a female legend in a United Golfers Association commemorative book. “If you make up your mind that you’re going to do something, you’re going to do it. Black women have always been strong anyway.”

The club, joined by its brother organization the Royal Golf Club, petitioned the federal government in 1938 to desegregate public golf courses in Washington, and was part of a movement of black golfers who pushed the PGA in 1961 to remove its white-only rule.


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