Tennis Club

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Ora Washington & Lula Ballard 1939

In 1959, members of these individual clubs decided to join together and founded the Philadelphia Tennis Club. The club was chartered later the same year and then organized as a 501c [3] organization.  It then began its journey towards its place as a historic institution in the sport of tennis. In 1962 the club financed, built and opened its own facility to provide African Americans and the entire city of Philadelphia a quality facility to enjoy the sport.  The Philadelphia Tennis Club continues to be dedicated to its original mission and its purpose continues to evolve reflecting sensitivity to social and educational issues affecting youth in Philadelphia. 

In 2014 Our journey continues because of the founding men and women below that had a vision.

Charles E. Massey; Maurice Anderson; Louise Jones; Elmer R. Gray; Fred P. Freeman, John F.D. Manns; James Green; Leon F. Martin; Mary Theorgood; Jesse A. Wright; Alfred B. Brown; Alexander Roberts; Albert Bishop; Dorothy Kornegay; Asa Anderson, Sr.; Carroll S. Graves; G. Everett Walton; Hayword Willis, Sr.; The added members as of incorporation date are Janet Haggans; Ruth Veal; Walter P. Moore; Elaine Busch and James Sweeting.

Our History

The Philadelphia Tennis Club (PTC) holds the distinction of being the oldest African-American owned tennis club in the USA.  The roots of PTC begin in 1916 with the founding of the American Tennis Association (ATA).  At that time there were several tennis clubs in the Greater Philadelphia Area, which together made up the Philadelphia Tennis Association. 

Throughout the country, membership in mainstream sports clubs was denied to African Americans. The ATA and the affiliated tennis club provided a vehicle through which black Americans could participate and enjoy the game of tennis with their families. 

The players engaged in inter-league play, traveled to play in tournaments hosted by the other ATA affiliates and jointly sponsored the Pennsylvania Open Tennis Tournament.  ATA members played on public courts, later leased courts at the old Germantown YWCA, (now Germantown Settlement) on Germantown Avenue and finally Germantown Friends School’s courts at Coulter and Wissahickon Avenue.