From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

English, Samuel Owens, Jr.

(born: 1937  -  died: 2005) 

Louisville, KY, native Sam English was not African American, but he helped integrate the game of tennis in Kentucky. English won many tennis championships, including state singles and doubles titles, over a more than 30-year playing career. He captained the Yale Eastern Championship tennis team, graduating from Yale in 1955.

Before becoming director of Kentucky's state tennis tournaments in 1961, English agreed to accept the position only if African Americans were also allowed to enter the tournaments; the tournaments had been for whites only. In 2002 Sam English was inducted into the United States Tennis Association Southern Hall of Fame.

For more see R. Pagliaro, "Popular Kentucky Tennis Contributor Sam English Has Passed Away At 68," Tennis Week, 11/4/2005; and Alexandra Luken, "Stories in Stone: Samuel “Sam” Owens English, Jr., Kentucky’s “Mr. Tennis” 1933-2002," on the Cave Hill Cemetery and Heritage Foundation website.

For information concerning the Louisville court surfaces, see "Remodeling Clay," Louisville Magazine, 8/1995, vol. 46, issue 8, p. 10.


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NKAA Source: Tennis week (periodical)
NKAA Source: Louisville magazine (periodical)

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“English, Samuel Owens, Jr.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 20, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-08-30 16:54:31