Robert Walter Johnson

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Robert Walter Johnson
Robert Walter Johnson.jpg
Born (1899-04-16)16 April 1899
Norfolk, Virginia, USA
Died 28 June 1971(1971-06-28) (aged 72)
Lynchburg, Virginia, USA
Nationality United States
Fields Internal medicine, sports medicine
Institutions Lynchburg General Hospital
Alma mater Lincoln University, Pennsylvania
Meharry Medical College

Robert Walter Johnson (April 16, 1899 – June 28, 1971) was an American physician and founder of the American Tennis Association Junior Development Program for African-American youths, where he coached and fostered the careers of tennis greats, Arthur Ashe and Althea Gibson.

Biography[edit]

Johnson graduated in 1924 from Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, a historically black college. He was a classmate of Melvin B. Tolson.

Johnson was the first African-American physician to receive practice rights at Lynchburg General Hospital in Virginia.[1] Johnson continued his medical practice in Lynchburg for his entire career.

Known as the "godfather" of black tennis, Johnson founded an all-expenses-paid tennis camp for African-American children and hired instructors.[2] In these years in the segregated South, they had no public courts where they could learn tennis, and many did not have money for lessons. Johnson was instrumental in encouraging the athletic careers of both Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe, whom he personally coached.[3]

Legacy and honors[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Heritage Sites & Organizations; Dr. Robert Walter Johnson Home and Tennis Court". The Virginia African American Heritage Program. Retrieved 2007-08-14. 
  2. ^ Smith, Doug (August 2004). Whirlwind: The Godfather of Black Tennis: The Life and Times of Dr. Robert Walter Johnson. Blue Eagle Publishing. ISBN 0-9748111-0-6. 
  3. ^ Carter, Bob. "Ashe's impact reached far beyond the court". ESPN Classic. Retrieved 2007-06-30. 
  4. ^ "Practice Information: Lynchburg--Walter Johnson Health Center". The University of Virginia Health System. Retrieved 2007-08-14. [dead link]
  5. ^ VSU Athletics (2008). Second Annual Dr. Robert Walter Johnson Memorial Invitational (.PDF). Virginia State University. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 

External links[edit]