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*Claude Cargill was born on this date in 1915. He was a Black policeman and community activist.
The last of eight children, he was born in Harlem, New York City. His lifelong love of young people came from one of the earliest Black New York City policemen. He organized and coached Police Athletic League basketball teams for girls and track and field for girls and boys. After leaving the Police Department and completing a stint as head of security for Supermarkets General, Cargill became one of the principal owners of Bill's Indoor Tennis in 1972.
In this setting, the formal organization, now known as the Harlem Junior Tennis Program, expanded and provided tennis instruction and tutoring, and academic counseling for college-bound students. Cargill spent most of his waking hours on the tennis court. He privately supported youngsters by buying tennis equipment, paying tournament entry fees, providing room and board, and securing private coaches for talented players.
He chauffeured youngsters to tournaments, and parents knew their children would be safe and cared for when they were with him. Cargill was a well-known Harlem community figure with his ever-present tennis cap and the regular bouncing-on-his-toes walk. He dedicated much of his life to working with young people on the basketball courts, the outdoor tennis courts, and the 369th Regiment Armory.
Claude Cargill died in Harlem Hospital, New York City, on April 18, 2002. He left a legacy of a life that demonstrated that a caring adult could make a difference in the lives of young people.
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