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<Bowlers and Bowling>

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Early Bowling Associations & Louisville, KY
Prior to the integration of the American Bowling Congress (ABC), the Women's International Bowling Congress (WIBC), and the National Negro Bowling Association (NNBA), the city of Louisville, KY, served as the southernmost city for tournaments and city leagues. The ABC, founded in 1895, had a "white males only" membership. The WIBC was founded in 1916 for white women. In 1949, the NAACP was considering challenging the membership clauses of both organizations with lawsuits. In addition to the restricted membership, no tournaments were played in southern locations beyond Louisville until after the organizations were integrated in 1950. The NNBA was an African American bowling organization that was established in Detroit, Michigan, in 1939. Initially, the majority of its members were from Detroit, Chicago, and Cleveland. By 1942, there were more than 300 teams in city leagues in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and Louisville, KY. The membership continued to grow, and in 1944 the name was changed to The National Bowling Association (TNBA), and the membership was opened to all persons. [This was a completely separate organization from the previously named National Bowling Association founded in 1875 and based in New York with a whites only membership.] Today the TNBA is one of the three major associations for amateur bowlers in the United States. For more see J. H. Rigali and J. C. Walter, "The Integration of the American Bowling Congress: the Buffalo experience," Afro-Americans in New York Life and History, vol. 29, no. 2 (July 2005), pp.7ff.; The Unlevel Playing Field, by D. K. Wiggins and P. B. Miller; Organizing Black America, by N. Mjagkij; and A Hard Road to Glory, by A. Ashe, Jr.

See the National Bowling Association website.
Subjects: Bowlers and Bowling
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Ferguson, Denver and Sea (brothers)
Denver Darious Ferguson (1895-1957) and Sea Ferguson (1899-1974) were born in Brownsville, KY, the sons of Samuel H. and Mattie Whitney Ferguson. Denver was a journalist and established The Edmonson Star News. He was also a WWI veteran then moved to Indianapolis in 1919 and owned a printing company. Sea, a college graduate, followed his brother to Indianapolis and worked in his printing company. The brothers would leave the printing business, and around 1931 they began establishing entertainment businesses on Indiana Avenue: Trianon Ballroom, Royal Palm Gardens, the Cotton Club, and Sunset Terrace Ballroom. They also established Ferguson Brothers' Booking Agency and brought many big name African American entertainers to Indianapolis, and some lesser known names including Kentucky natives Jimmy Coe and Gene Pope. The Ferguson brothers also owned Ferguson Hotel. They are recognized for making Indianapolis a major stop on the African American entertainment circuit. Denver Ferguson was said to be quite a wealthy man up to WWII [source: "Denver Ferguson, pioneer businessman dies," Indianapolis Record, 05/18/1957, pp.1&7]. Sea Ferguson is said to have become a millionaire as a result of his real estate business. He was also an officer with the The National Negro Bowling Association (TNBA). Sea Ferguson is said to be the 3rd African American to build a bowling center; Ferguson's Fun Bowl opened in March 1941 at 750 N. West Street in Indianapolis, IN. For more see "Sea Ferguson's Fun Bowl," The African Diaspora Archaeology Network, March 2008 Newsletter, p.9 [online .pdf].
Subjects: Bowlers and Bowling, Businesses, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: Brownsville, Edmonson County, Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana

Garrett, Matt
Matt Garrett, the son of Vivian Maddox, was born in Newport, KY. He graduated from Lincoln Grant High School and West Virginia State College [now West Virginia State University]. In 1970 he was the first African American to bowl a 300 game (at the Southland Bowling Alley in Flint, Michigan). Winner of the TNBA National Doubles title and TNBA All Event Title, he was inducted into the Flint Bowling Hall of Fame in 1992. For more see 2001 Award Winner at Greater Flint Afro-American Hall of Fame, a Flint Public Library website.

Subjects: Bowlers and Bowling, Migration North
Geographic Region: Newport, Campbell County, Kentucky / Flint, Michigan


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