To celebrate Black History Month, The PGA of America hosted historian and New York University Professor Dr. Jeffrey T. Sammons on Feb. 17, as he turned back the clock and revisited the life and times of famed African-American Golf Professional Jimmie DeVoe.
Sammons visited both the PGA Museum of Golf in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and PGA of America Headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
DeVoe gained full PGA membership in 1962. The talented golf professional is credited with instructing the Mills Brothers, Ben Blue, Althea Gibson, Nat Cole and Tom Bradley, the first African-American mayor of Los Angeles.
In 1944, DeVoe became the first African-American to play in the Los Angeles Open and later became one of the first African-Americans to gain membership in The PGA of America after the rescinding of the Caucasian Clause in 1961.
Sammons is a professor of history at New York University, where he has taught since 1989.
His community service activities include: director of a charity golf event for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund; board member of the Clearview Legacy Foundation which supports Clearview Golf Club, the only African-American built, owned, and operated golf course in the United States. Clearview, located in East Canton, Ohio, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Sammons also serves as an advisor on historical and diversity matters to The PGA of America, is a member of the Museum Committee of the United States Golf Association, and the USGA/PGA African-American Golf Archive working group.
Sammons has written widely on the subject of sport and race and has participated in and consulted on numerous documentary projects with independent filmmakers as well as large television networks. He is deeply involved in efforts to collect, preserve and present that relate to the African-American experience in golf, and expects to publish his research on blacks and golf soon.