Joe Louis “The Champ” Golf Course in Riverdale was the site of an historic exhibition golf game back in August of 1963. The exhibition pitted former heavyweight boxing legend Joe Louis (after whom the course is named) and trailblazing African American tennis star Althea Gibson against high school state champions Renee Powell and Ted Beattie. Powell would go on to be one of the only black players on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour, and Beattie became president and CEO of Chicago’s John G. Shedd Aquarium. The exhibition was one of several dedicated to breaking down racial barriers at the time.
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