HIGH POINT CONFIDENTIAL: A change of course

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Oct. 29—HIGH POINT — It’s been nearly 70 years since Perry Little and Hubert Creft played their first round of golf at Blair Park Golf Course, and it remains the most significant win the course has ever seen.

For the first quarter of a century of its existence, Blair Park had been as white as the balls its patrons played with, a throwback to the days of segregation. By the mid-1950s, municipal golf courses in neighboring Thomasville and Greensboro were open to blacks, but Blair Park remained a whites-only course.

That changed when Little and Creft — a couple of prominent African-American doctors in High Point — and George Simkins, a black doctor from Greensboro, got screwed.

It was 1954 and city officials had shown no willingness to change the course’s whites-only policy. So, on December 29, 1954, the three black men calmly but firmly took matters into their own hands.

“I’ve heard the story many times,” says Daniel Creft, of Jamestown, son of the late Hubert Creft. “They were refused to play, but they insisted that they play anyway.”

The story is that club pro Chuck Alexander politely told the three men he had no authority to let them play because they were black.

“Well, our money is green,” Little replied, “and we’re going to play.”

With that, they put their green money on the counter, walked out onto the course, and played nine holes.

Two days later, they did the same, much to the chagrin of the club pro.

Carl Little, son of the late Perry Little, confirms the story.

“They were tired of always playing the same golf courses and not being able to play there,” says Little, of High Point. “One day they got fed up and said, ‘We’re going to play.’ And that’s what they did.”

Unfortunately, that was not the end of the story. News of the black men’s unauthorized golf parties reached City Hall, where officials still seemed unwilling to overturn the whites-only policy. According to newspaper reports from the time, officials claimed they were contractually obligated to keep black people off the course.

“Popular belief is that the Blair family left a covenant in their deed of ownership of the golf course to the city that limited the use of the property’s facilities to white persons only,” reported The High. Dot Enterprise. “However, it is reliably reported that such a pact does not exist.”

Later stories in The Enterprise, published in January 1955, reveal much hesitation on the part of city officials as they debated whether to allow black people to play on the municipal course.

Finally, on January 18, the High Point Parks and Recreation Commission, an advisory committee, approved the city’s existing policy of a separate Blair Park golf course. The city council followed suit and, by failing to enact a new policy, also gave segregation a high-five.

Unfortunately, that was normal in the 1950s.

It wasn’t until a year later, on February 21, 1956, that the city council officially backed down and agreed to incorporate Blair Park.

“With the governing body’s action today, High Point has become one of the few cities in the state where blacks and whites jointly use golf facilities,” The Enterprise reported.

The policy went into effect on March 1, 1956, and 11 black people played golf at Blair Park that day, according to The Enterprise.

We don’t know if these three black doctors – the men who had so boldly stood up for their beliefs and desegregated Blair Park – were among the 11 black golfers that day, but we hope so.

And we hope they hit them long and straight all day.

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