‘It’s an American story’: Kansas City sports figures promote new film on golf’s segregated history


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The history of black golfers is coming to a small screen in the near future. 

The Black Archives of Mid-America, along with Rodney Thompson and Stinson McClendon from Reel Images, are working on a documentary that will highlight golf’s rich history in the Black community. 

“It’s an American story that has not been told in depth,” Thompson said. 

“We try to tell our story because we find that there’s a different story being told about the same subject all the time in America,” McClendon said. 

On Friday, a few big names from Kansas City’s sports past stopped by the Black Archives to promote the film.

Former Kansas City Chiefs players Bobby Bell, Michael Garrett and Will Shields and former Royals second baseman Frank White were there. The group talked about golf’s impact on their lives and how this documentary will potentially touch others.

“So much in the Black community, we didn’t always believe we had access to. Golf then opens that door. There’s nothing in America you cannot do,” Garrett said.

James Watts, an ombudsman at the Black Archives, is doing extensive research for the film. The history he’s uncovered has been eye-opening for many.

“I think in talking to Jim (Watts) about the history of Black golf in Kansas City, it’s a history that a lot of us didn’t know about,” White said.

The documentary will address topics like Kansas City’s segregated public golf courses and more.

“This is significant because we all know that those decisions were made on golf courses,” Black Archives Executive Director Dr. Carmaletta Williams said. “So how did that happen and what was the resistance to that? And how did Black folks actually get involved in that.”

The documentary’s targeted release date is set for spring 2022.

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