First Black PGA Golfer Charles L. Sifford Earns Presidential Medal of Freedom

Known as the “Jackie Robinson of Golf” because of his strides in breaking through golf’s stiff racial barriers, Sifford provided counsel to Robinson during his climb up to fame. His words of wisdom came from walking a path of resistance from showing interest in goals as a young boy in Charlotte, N.C.

Caddying while practicing his skills, Jim Crow laws prevented Sifford from advancing beyond gopher status. His determination to make golf dreams come true garnered death threats even after the PGA banned its Whites only clause. Today, Sifford boasts a Honorary Doctor of Law Degree by the University of St. Andrews given to him  in 2006. And he is the third golf pro to receive the Medal of Freedom after Arnold Palmer in 2004 and Jack Nicklaus in 2005. Sifford was voted in by a panel of sporting who’s who including congressional politicians and athletes like Tiger Woods, Alonzo Mourning, Bill Russell and Jim Brown.

“The PGA of America joins our friends throughout sports today in paying tribute to Dr. Charles Sifford upon receiving this prestigious honor,” said PGA of America Interim President Derek Sprague. “The hard-fought efforts and perseverance of Dr. Sifford continue to inspire our industry to evolve and elevate all efforts in diversity and inclusion. We must be mindful and proactive in creating meaningful opportunities for everyone to participate in this great sport.”

article by Raqiyah Mays via blackenterprise.com

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