The Baltimore Tennis Club (BTC) has over a century
of history here in Baltimore, Maryland. Founded circa 1895, and
originally known as the Monumental City Tennis Club, it was one
of several Negro tennis clubs operating along the eastern seaboard.
Negro tennis players from Maryland, the New England states, New
Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington DC participated
in invitational and interstate tournaments starting around 1898.
The Monumental City Tennis Club, in September, 1909 began plans
to erect a tennis club house and courts in the Baltimore suburbs-the
idea owing to the fact that there were only two tennis courts
in the city, (both located in Druid Hill Park), on which colored
people were allowed to play. This idea, unfortunately, did not
In early November, 1916, Mr. Ralph V. Cook of the
Monumental Tennis Club and Mr. D.O.W. Holmes of the Association
Tennis Club (now known as the Mall Tennis Club) of Washington,
DC gathered together other tennis leaders in the area to discuss
ways and means for a national organization. The result was the
formulation of the American Tennis Association (ATA), on November
30, 1916, in Washington, DC. Dr. H. Stanton McCard became President
and Ralph C. Cook became Secretary. They were both from Baltimore.
Washington was represented by Tally Holmes, who was the treasurer.
These were the organization's first officers. By the end of that
year, the ATA was the permanent association representing all of
the Negro Tennis Clubs known to be functioning in the country.
The American Tennis Association became the "counter-part"
of the United States Lawn and Tennis Association (USLTA), in a
nation still weighed down by racial barriers.
In August, 1917, under the auspicious of the Monumental
City Tennis Club, the first National Championship of the ATA was
held in Baltimore, at Druid Hill Park. It is with great pride
that the Baltimore Tennis Club can say that many of the best black
players in the game of tennis, such as Leslie Allen, Arthur Ashe,
Arthur Carrington, Althea Gibson and Rodney Harmon have played
on our own home courts. In 1924, the Monumental City Tennis Club
again hosted the ATA National Championships in Druid Hill Park.
In 1948, several club members held a demonstration
on the clay courts in Druid Hill Park, for the right of black
people to play tennis on all public courts in Baltimore. They
were arrested, threatened and harassed, but they won! The public
tennis courts were opened for all to play on.
Over the many years, the Baltimore Tennis Club has
had several thousand members of all ages, ethnic backgrounds and
tennis abilities come together for the sheer joy of playing tennis.
We are proud to be the "parent organization" for many
of the existing black tennis clubs in the area. The club has hosted
at least one tennis tournament annually for the past nine decades.
Ever interested in Junior Development, the club
has always made a concerted effort to maintain and keep expanding,
a viable junior development program. The club seeks to provide
the opportunity for youth from all social-economic backgrounds
to play tennis and promote good sportsmanship. BTC believes that
this philosophy will serve as a springboard for improving the
overall quality of their lives.
The historic Baltimore Tennis Club honors its past,
sees the reality of the present and is busy shaping an even brighter