Charlie Takes His Shot:
How Charlie Sifford Broke the Color Barrier in Golf
by Nancy Churnin ill by John Joven
The color barrier in USA professional sports has a long and painful history. Probably the most well-known athlete who pioneered entrance into major league sports is Jackie Robinson, who first played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Over time, gradual advances in overcoming bigotry within the major leagues have been put into place. Removing discriminatory practices has been a long time coming. Take professional golf. Because it is an individual competition as opposed to a team sport, overturning discrimination has been a slow and lonely process.
Nancy Churnin's Charlie Takes His Shot chronicles the story of Charles Luther Sifford, the first black man to gain admittance into the Professional Golfers' Association of America.
A big break comes when Robinson writes a column for the New York Post, pressing for Sifford's admittance into the PGA. Later California's attorney general Stanley Mosk petitions the PGA to remove their "Caucasian only" clause. Finally, in 1960 the offending clause is removed and Charlie Sifford receives his PGA card. The book concludes with his win in the1967 Greater Hartford Open.
Back matter includes a time line and an author's note with supplemental historical background.
John Joven's Illustrations bring vitality and a sense of determination to each page. Action is evident, particularly on the golf course. Golfers taking shots give the story extra pizzazz. Joven also does a nice job of showing the passage of time as Charlie progresses from an aspiring youngster in knickers to a seasoned athlete mopping his brow.