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Wed, 11.22.1916

William Powell, Entrepreneur and Golf Course Owner born

William Powell

*William Powell was born on this date in 1916. He was a Black businessman, entrepreneur, and pioneering golf course owner.

William J. Powell was born in Greenville, Alabama. During his youth, he moved with his family to Minerva, Ohio. In high school there, Powell played golf and football. Later, at Wilberforce University, he played on the golf team. After serving in the United States Army Air Force in World War II, Powell returned to the Canton, Ohio, area in 1946.

He began work as a janitor and later as a security guard for the Timken bearing and steel company. Due to racial segregation, he was banned from all-white public golf courses and was rejected for a bank loan to try to build his own. With financing from two black doctors and a loan from his brother, Powell bought a 78-acre dairy farm in East Canton, Ohio, and with his wife, Marcella, did most of the landscaping by hand.

Two years later, in 1948, he opened the integrated Clearview Golf Club. In 1978, he expanded the course to 18 holes and earned a national-historic-site designation in 2001. As of the 2000s (decade), Clearview was the only course in the United States designed, constructed, owned, and operated by an African American. His children, Larry Powell and Renee Powell, took on managing the club. William J. Powell died in Canton, Ohio, on December 31, 2009, following complications from a stroke.

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