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Charlie Sifford Broke Golf’s Color Lines; His Son Fondly Recalls the Challenges and Triumphs During Centennial Celebration

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Sitting inside an office at PGA TOUR headquarters in Ponte Verde, Florida, and preparing to remember what would have been his father’s 100th birthday on June 2, Charlie Sifford recounted how much his late father, Dr. Charlie Sifford Jr., loved golf. He also remembered his father’s challenges trying to break into the sport during segregation and the Jim Crow era.
The post Charlie Sifford Broke Golf’s Color Lines; His Son Fondly Recalls the Challenges and Triumphs During Centennial Celebration first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Charlie Sifford didn’t hesitate to explain why his late father, Dr. Charlie Sifford Jr., remains his hero.

Sitting inside an office at PGA TOUR headquarters in Ponte Verde, Florida, and preparing to remember what would have been his father’s 100th birthday on June 2, Sifford recounted how much his dad loved golf.

He also remembered his father’s challenges trying to break into the sport during segregation and the Jim Crow era.

“In pursuing the game he loved so much, he endured enormous challenges as an African American golfer,” Sifford Jr. recalled.

Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1922, Dr. Sifford, the first Black golfer on the PGA TOUR, began caddying at a nearby country club to earn money.

“Back then, in the 1920s and 1930s, there were very few places where young kids could go to make some money,” Sifford Jr. related.

“He caddied until he was 17, but by the time he was 13, he was considered the top caddie at the course, and many good players asked for him.”

According to Sifford Jr., a byproduct of his father’s outstanding ability to caddie earned him more money than other kids.

“He developed a love for the game. He learned by watching,” Sifford Jr. remarked.

Because African Americans weren’t allowed to play at country clubs, Sifford Jr. said his father would sneak in a few holes when he wasn’t caddying.

“He said he had a short backswing because he had to play in a hurry and get as many holes in as possible,” Sifford remarked.

“He had one nine-to-five job his whole life, when he worked at Nabisco in Philadelphia when he was 17. He worked there for three years but decided that he wanted to be outside playing golf, and he was determined to succeed.”

In addition to marking what would have been Dr. Sifford’s 100th birthday, The PGA TOUR also will host The Sifford Centennial 2022.

The Sifford Centennial project features several highlight events throughout the year and special merchandise available to the public, including the Just Let Me Play Centennial Collection and Sifford Centennial Cigars.

Further, the Presidents Cup organizers announced the creation of the Charlie Sifford Centennial Cup, a one-day team match-play event featuring top golf teams from historically Black colleges and universities.

The Centennial Cup takes place on August 29 at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, this year’s Presidents Cup site.

All will participate in the top four HBCU Division 1 program, the top HBCU Division II program, and the host school Johnson C. Smith University of Charlotte.

The six schools will send their top four players, broken into two separate teams of 12, with the college teammates staying together in pods.

The Golfstat ranking will determine the programs at the end of this 2022 season.

Sifford Jr. declared that all tributes and events would have meant a lot to his father.

“What he had to go through early in his career, being rejected for certain tournaments, and being treated unfairly because of the color of his skin and now to be recognized from coast-to-coast, by white people, Black people, Asians, and everyone else would make him feel like the job he did turned out positive,” Sifford Jr. asserted.

“He’d be very proud of this.”

A Philadelphia native, Sifford Jr. said his father began playing golf professionally in 1948, two years after his friend, Jackie Robinson, broke Major League Baseball’s color line.

“One year after Jackie Robinson, my father told Jackie that he would do the same in golf,” Sifford Jr. noted.

“Before he went on tour, he talked to Jackie, who asked him was he a quitter and if he was, he shouldn’t worry about trying to go on tour because they’re going to make you wish you weren’t out there,” Sifford Jr. continued.

“It would be harder for him because he’d be out there by himself. Jackie had a team and an owner who supported him. My father would be out there alone.

“But my father had stubbornness, grit, and he was determined that he was going to play golf and nothing or no one was going to stop him.”

The first time Dr. Sifford attempted to join the PGA TOUR, racism prevailed.

He played with an all-Black group led by boxing champion Joe Louis.

However, when the group reached the first hole, they found excrement there, attempting to discourage them from playing.

Sifford Jr. learned about some of his father’s struggles by reading Dr. Sifford’s book, “Just Let Me Play: The Story of Charlie Sifford, the First Black PGA Golfer.”

“Some things surprised me in the book. He didn’t bring a lot of [the incidents] home,” Sifford Jr. recalled.

“I asked him about it when the book came out, and he said all of that really happened. In North Carolina, the first time he went back to the south to play, he stayed with friends that lived close to the golf course because no hotel would let him stay.

“The first day, he was leading the tournament, and then he received a call at his friend’s house, and someone made death threats. So, they told him if he showed up, something would happen.

“Being stubborn, he said, ‘you gonna do what you gonna do, and I will do what I have to do, and I will be there for my tee time.’”

Although he didn’t fare well on the second day, Dr. Sifford finished in the top five and earned a berth into the next tournament.

“It showed me that he had a determination,” Sifford Jr. said. “People threatened his life, but it showed the kind of person he was. He helped me to understand many things, including not judging a person by their origins but how they treat you and if they respect your wishes and treat you fairly.”

In addition to breaking golf’s color line, Dr. Sifford won six Negro National Open titles, earned honors as one of the top 100 people in the First Century of Golf, and earned more than $1.2 million on the PGA TOUR and the Senior Tour.

In 2004, Dr. Sifford became the first Black golfer inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. In 2006, the University of St. Andrews awarded Dr. Sifford an honorary degree, and in 2014, President Barack Obama bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Dr. Sifford.

“It was really exciting because my dad never thought he’d see a Black President, and frankly, I never thought I’d see one,” Sifford Jr. said.

“It was ironic, the first Black PGA member and the first Black President. The two hit it off. President Obama and Vice President Biden were golfers, and during the ceremony, Obama asked my father for golf tips. My father told Biden that he could probably help him but turned to Obama and said, ‘I don’t know what I can do for you because you hit from the wrong side.’”

Obama is left-handed.

“It was a fun-filled time,” Sifford Jr. stated.

The post Charlie Sifford Broke Golf’s Color Lines; His Son Fondly Recalls the Challenges and Triumphs During Centennial Celebration first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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COMMENTARY: Coach Saban, Shut Up and Coach

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Jackson State will continue to get its fair share of 5-Star recruits. Coach Prime and all HBCUs can offer an experience that Alabama certainly can’t. It’s nothing like an HBCU experience. This is just the beginning. We will continue to see 5-Star Black athletes signing with HBCUs.
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By Burl “The Coach” Jones, Sports Editor, Houston Forward Times

Recently, Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban made a statement that Texas A&M bought every player they signed with NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) deals.

Alabama came in second in recruiting this year. That has rarely happened since Saban stepped on campus at Alabama. He also stated that Jackson State University, an HBCU coached by Deion Sanders, signed the #1 recruit in the country to a $1 million NIL deal.

The NIL phenomenon was created in June 2021 by the NCAA. This allows athletes to be paid for the use of their name, image, and likeness. Previously, the NCAA made billions in revenue off the backs of college athletes. With the advent of the NIL, expect a shift in the landscape of college football recruiting.

Schools like Texas A&M, Texas, and Oklahoma, have very rich boosters and alumni who have access to millions. They will come up with very creative ways to offer lucrative NIL deals to 5-star recruits. This apparently doesn’t sit well with Coach Saban, who is used to having his way, and getting most of the 5-Star recruits to sign with Alabama.

This will definitely level the playing field and gives schools like Texas A&M, that hasn’t won a National Championship in decades, a chance to recruit 5-Star athletes on a national level and could eventually lead to them winning a National Championship in the near future.

At least that’s what they hope in College Station.

As far as Coach Saban’s statement about Jackson State signing the #1 recruit in the country to a $1 million NIL deal is concerned, that was quickly debunked by Coach Prime, who immediately tweeted that he will address that lie. He followed that up with this statement:

“I haven’t talked to Coach Saban. I’m sure he tried to call. We need to talk publicly- not privately. What you said was public, that doesn’t require a private conversation. Let’s talk publicly and let everybody hear the conversation.”

Coach Saban is speaking from a place of privilege and bigotry. He is used to having his way and getting the players he wants. How dare a little old HBCU such as Jackson State get the #1 recruit in the country? It’s a slap in the face to all HBCUs to insist that they must pay a Black kid to attend an HBCU.

Paying recruits is certainly not new; it has been going on for years.

Former Houston Texan Travis Johnson, who was a 5-Star recruit, recently stated that Alabama offered him six figures in 2000 when he was being recruited.

“Y’all were the NIL before the NIL,” he said.

Jackson State will continue to get its fair share of 5-Star recruits. Coach Prime and all HBCUs can offer an experience that Alabama certainly can’t. It’s nothing like an HBCU experience. This is just the beginning. We will continue to see 5-Star Black athletes signing with HBCUs.

Coach Saban needs to be concerned about that pipeline that he had in Texas, getting those 5-Star recruits to leave the state. That oil money in Texas will be keeping those boys at home. Texas and Oklahoma will be joining the SEC in a few years and that will also influence Saban’s ability to recruit in Texas.

With all those factors coming into play, here is a bit of advice Coach Sabin:

SHUT UP AND COACH!!

“I’m just Telling It Like It Is!!”

The post COMMENTARY: Coach Saban, Shut Up and Coach first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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COMMENTARY: Racism Rears Its Ugly Head in the Buffalo Shootings

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Racial tragedy struck Buffalo, New York, on May 14th. Hate came up from the ground and reared its inhumane and immoral head. Ten Black people were murdered by a White man who hated Black people. It’s that simple and that sad. Payton S. Gendron, 18 years old, was the shooter. He also injured 3 people as well during this shooting spree.
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By James B. Ewers Jr. Ed.D., Houston Forward Times

Racism is a longstanding social illness in the United States of America. Seemingly, there is no cure for it.

It has been with us for as long as I can remember. The result of it has created heartache and heartbreak.

Lives have been lost and it has left the stain of disgrace on this country. Accomplishments, it could be argued, are sometimes overshadowed by our blatant disregard for some members of our beloved community.

I know for sure that racism will be around for as long as I live. It has been a part of my life experiences.

Unfortunately, and I say this with no pride, I have witnessed racism up close and personal.

I have been around long enough to watch the many levels of racism that exist in this country.

For example, we have had educational racism. Segregated schools were the norm until the case, Brown versus the Board of Education of Topeka ended it.

Did that stop us from getting an education?

The answer is a resounding no!

Black colleges, now called Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), were founded in order that higher education was afforded to African Americans.

At this moment, HBCUs are the hottest and most talked about educational venue in the land.

Everybody wants to attend an HBCU. I am a graduate of an HBCU (Johnson C. Smith University), and I know the power and influence they have.

The right to vote has always been problematic for African Americans. It is a fundamental right for all Americans, according to the Founding Fathers.

The problem is that the ‘current fathers’ don’t see it that way.

Will that stop us?

The answer is another resounding no!

African Americans are now voting in record numbers and that trend will continue.

There are states in this union that are creating trumped-up rules to keep us from exercising our privilege at the polls.

Some in this country have taken racism below ground zero. There are people in our states who hate Black people and want to kill us.

That is a powerful statement, yet it is factual and true.

Interestingly, there are citizens who believe the opposite. I suspect their experiences are different, and they live in an almost contactless America.

If you are one of those people, pay close attention now.

Racial tragedy struck Buffalo, New York, on May 14th.

Hate came up from the ground and reared its inhumane and immoral head.

Ten Black people were murdered by a White man who hated Black people.

It’s that simple and that sad.

Payton S. Gendron, 18 years old, was the shooter. He also injured 3 people as well during this shooting spree.

The victims were assaulted at a Tops Friendly Markets store and the victims ranged in ages from 20-86.

This crime of hate is unthinkable and was done with malicious intent.

The killer was not a Buffalo resident. He drove approximately 200 miles from Conklin, New York, to commit this heinous crime.

Gendron had already scouted out the place for his crime. He knew that many African Americans shopped at that location. That is sick beyond words.

According to reports, Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said, “We found some things that show he was here in early March, and then again, we know he was here on Friday, basically doing reconnaissance on the area.”

Gramaglia added, “He was in the store, both on Friday and Saturday.”

These statements were made by him to CNN’s Erin Burnett.

Payton S. Gendron surrendered to police after this life-altering atrocity.

America, where are we headed? Only time will tell.

The post Racism Rears Its Ugly Head in the Buffalo Shootings appeared first on Houston Forward Times.

The post COMMENTARY: Racism Rears Its Ugly Head in the Buffalo Shootings first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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American Petroleum Institute Lays Out Solutions to Rising Gas Prices

NNPA NEWSWIRE — A study of fact sheets provided by the American Petroleum Institute suggests that the complicated answer includes more production in America, which could add more supply. “More U.S. supply means relief for the global market,” Lem Smith, API’s vice president for Federal Relations, wrote in an op-ed.
The post American Petroleum Institute Lays Out Solutions to Rising Gas Prices first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

The average price for a gallon of gasoline has hit record numbers in Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

This week prices rose nationally by four cents, and consumers wondered why the cost is so high.

A study of fact sheets provided by the American Petroleum Institute suggests that the complicated answer includes more production in America, which could add more supply. “More U.S. supply means relief for the global market,” Lem Smith, API’s vice president for Federal Relations, wrote in an op-ed.

“America has an abundance of resources right under our feet, and policymakers should send a clear message that America is open for energy investment,” Smith declared.

API noted that gasoline prices are determined by the supply and demand of crude oil and expenses for refining, distribution, retailing, and taxation. Those fundamental market realities drive prices at the pump, officials stated.

The main components of retail gasoline prices are the cost of crude oil, taxes, refining costs, and distribution and marketing costs, API officials stated.

Of those, the price of crude oil has the most significant impact – accounting for 56 percent of the cost.

“Because of this, changes in the price reflect the global cost of crude oil, which is influenced by current conditions and expectations of consumer demand, supply, inventories, geopolitical events, and other factors, generally have an effect on pump prices,” the organization stated in a fact sheet.

Further, federal, state, and local governments levy various taxes in fees on transportation fuels.

The nationwide average tax on gasoline is 57.09 cents per gallon, including a federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon and state-level taxes that range from 68.15 cents per gallon in California and 15.13 cents per gallon in Alaska.

API President and CEO Mike Sommers recently discussed the critical importance of American energy leadership “at a time of geopolitical volatility and rising energy costs around the world.”

Sommers urged policymakers to advance U.S. natural gas and oil production to support stability in global energy markets and ensure access to affordable, reliable energy for American consumers and our allies overseas.

“Most everyone knows that the world needs oil and natural gas in a big way and will for decades or more to come; the only question is where that oil and gas is going to come from,” Sommers remarked.

“As much as ever, we need to think hard about that economic truth and our energy future. That means recognizing energy from natural gas and oil as the critical strategic asset it is to America.”

“We can’t treat oil and natural gas as a kind of switch that is turned on or off to suit the moment,” Sommers continued.

“Production and delivery don’t work that way. Yet the overriding policy lately has been to cancel pipelines, block permits and deny leases – all things that discourage investment.

“As more Americans face the consequences of bad policy, the elements of good policy become that much more apparent and desired. We have an opportunity together to re-center the energy discussion with basic realities and good common sense as our starting point.”

Sommers called on the administration and Congress to develop a new five-year offshore leasing program; hold onshore leases on federal lands per the Mineral Leasing Act; approve LNG export applications and allow the approval of exports to non-free-trade-agreement nations, and craft transparent, consistent permitting regulations to enable the development of vital energy infrastructure.

The U.S. has pledged to increase LNG exports to Europe by 65 percent over the next six years.

How quickly could U.S. oil producers scale up production to put downward pressure on domestic gasoline costs?

What could the federal government do to promote that production?

API officials said it begins with access to resources, advancing infrastructure, and enabling – rather than deterring – the industry’s financing.

“Importantly, financial markets have become less hospitable to the natural gas and oil industry partly because of the Biden administration’s positions, policies, and signals,” API officials asserted.

“Those who have capital may be reluctant to invest in long-lived energy assets in such a climate, and a relatively fixed pool of cash flows that could be re-invested by industry have been increasingly spread thin.”

API listed four “concrete actions” the organization believes the Biden-Harris administration could immediately take to support American production.

They include conducting federal lease sales, completing a new five-year program for federal offshore leasing, supporting energy infrastructure, and reopening access to Alaska.

“The administration should reinstate the leases it suspended in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the permit development it approved in the National Petroleum Reserve,” API officials wrote.

“These were permitted with stringent environmental standards and could prove a significant source of domestic production over time.”

The post American Petroleum Institute Lays Out Solutions to Rising Gas Prices first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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