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On this date in 1916, we celebrate the founding of The American Tennis Association (ATA), the first Black sports organization in the United States.
Formed by a group of Black businessmen, college professors, and physicians, the ATA has become the top organization for Blacks from all walks of life who want to enjoy the camaraderie and competition offered by tennis. Since its inception, the ATA has honored the founding fathers' primary objectives:
To bring Black tennis enthusiasts and players into close and friendly relations.
To improve the standards of existing clubs.
To hold an annual national championship tournament.
To regulate the dates of local and regional tournaments to avoid conflicts.
To appoint referees and officials for each event, and To promote the standard of the game among Black players.
The organization held its first ATA National Championships, consisting of three events (men's and women's singles and men's doubles), at Baltimore's Druid Hill Park in August 1917.
In August of each year, several thousand players are expected to compete in more than 50 different events at the annual ATA National Championships in various locations. The ATA is the core of a growing, African American big-bucks demographic that has helped turn the tennis industry into a multi-billion dollar business.