The desegregation of tennis was due in large part to the efforts of Dr. Robert W. “Whirlwind” Johnson. The first African American to earn staff privileges at Lynchburg General Hospital, he also worked to overcome barriers keeping young African Americans out of tennis. As founder of the Junior Development Program of the American Tennis Association, Johnson sponsored African-American players from across the country in tournaments, and coached and mentored them on backyard courts here at his home. Among those he trained were Wimbledon Champions Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe. Johnson was posthumously inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2009.
Date Approved by DHR: 06-16-2011
Year On Marker: 2011
Original Sponsor: Department of Historic Resources - Proposed by Jane White
Geographic Location: Lynchburg
Physical Description of Location: 1422 Pierce St, Lynchburg, VA 24501.
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