Dr. Johnson’s groundbreaking book, The African American Woman Golfer: Her Legacy, has changed how many Americans look at the annals of golf.
Published June 14, 2020
The exact origin of golf is unknown, much like the stories of the first African American women to play the sport, that is, until M. Mikell Johnson, a research scientist by profession and an avid golfer herself, chose to delve into the little known history of these extraordinary women.
The African American Woman Golfer: Her Legacy, the book written by Johnson notes the first African American women to play the game of golf. It not only explores the consciousness of women golfers through their biographies but also embodies the pressing question of why these women should never be forgotten by history.
The inspiration behind the book idea came from Mikell’s daughter. “When my daughter was beginning junior high school, she wanted to focus on several sports,” said Johnson. “She knew that I had played golf for 30 years and wanted to know if there were any famous African American women golfers other than Althea Gibson. We found nothing in the normal reference materials when we went to the library to research the subject.”
That was just the beginning for Johnson. Being a research scientist by profession, this just made her dig a little harder, and she began to request material from other libraries. The moment that she knew she was going to write a book occurred when all of the interlibrary loan material began to pile up. “I had to decide to get rid of it or to index and make a compilation of what I had found,” said the author. “I decided that the story of the first African American female golfers, a story that hadn’t been written, was ready to be told.”
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