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February 12, 2024

Black Tennis Hall of Fame Founder Dr. Dale Caldwell Is "Successful Because Of Diversity" - News Interview Sharing Dr. Caldwell's Continuous Commitment To Black History



Lehigh Valley Regional News, Priscilla Liguori, February 5, 2024


HACKETTSTOWN, Pa. - February is Black History Month, though the head of Centenary University is devoted to educating people about black history all year long. He co-founded the Black Excellence Alliance, which highlights black history and accomplishments via different halls of fame.


"My dad knew and marched arm and arm with Dr. King, and my mom was a school teacher, and they grew up in the South, and so they grew up around segregation," said Dr. Dale Caldwell, Centenary University's first African American president.


Understanding history is important to Caldwell.


 "If we don't know our path or our history, we're doomed to repeat the bad parts of history, and so by really educating people about the struggles of others, it gives us a sense of what's going on today," said Caldwell.


It's why Caldwell founded five black halls of fame. The first one was for tennis in 2008, and then came inventors, entrepreneurs, authors and educators.


"There are so many people, especially African Americans, who did amazing things, but we're left off out of the history books, and so I said, well, why don't we try to do something to make sure that that history is memorialized and those people are recognized," said Caldwell.


Centenary's library director is also on the board of the Black Inventors Hall of Fame.


"I've just learned so much, and I've been able to share that history as well," said Susan Van Alstyne, the director of the Taylor Memorial Library at Centenary University.


Some of that history is documented in the library's Dr. Caldwell room, which full of hundreds of books he donated to the school community, upon taking the job of president last year.


"He and his daughter came here one day in a U haul," said Van Alstyne.


Caldwell, whose an author too, says more halls are in the works.


"This idea of unifying America, with black history....we're approaching the Super Bowl. The winning Super Bowl team is going to have a center and a wide receiver and running back and defensive backs. All different people, different body types, but they're successful because of their diversity," said Caldwell.


Centenary is holding events with the different halls of fame throughout the month.




February 11, 2024

Black Tennis Hall of Fame Sends Condolences To The Family of Our Hall of Famer, Lendward "Lenny" Simpson Who Passed Away On February 9, 2024


In 1964, Simpson made history by becoming the first African American to win the USLTA Eastern Boy’s 14 singles title at Forest Hills. This was a particularly significant achievement because he defeated future pro tennis legend Dick Stockton in the finals. This extraordinary accomplishment enabled Simpson, ate the age of 15, to become the youngest male to ever compete in the US National Championships at Forest Hills in 1964. He also played in the US National Championships in 1965 and 1966. In 1967, he continued his extraordinary junior career by winning the ATA National Boys Singles and Doubles Championships. Simpson was able to use his exceptional tennis talents to enhance his education. He attended Cheshire Academy on a tennis scholarship and played #1 singles and, because of his extraordinary tennis accomplishments, was the first person inducted into their athletic hall of fame. In 1967, Simpson won the National Prep School Championship. He was one of the best players in the country throughout his junior career as evidenced by his being ranked in the top 10 nationally in the USLTA in every junior age group in both singles and doubles.


While at Eastern Tennessee State University, Lenny played #1 singles for three years and was ranked #1 in the Ohio Valley Conference for three consecutive years. In 1964 and 1965 Simpson and Luis Glass won the ATA Men’s Doubles Championship. In addition, Simpson and 2009 Black Tennis Hall of Fame Inductee Bonnie Logan won the ATA National Mixed Doubles Championship four consecutive times from 1967-1970.  


In 1974, Simpson made history once again by becoming the first African American to play World Team Tennis, signing with the Detroit Loves. He was inducted into the North Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame in 2012 and the Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame in 2013. Simpson continues to give back to the tennis community and support future tennis champions. The not-for-profit tennis program that Simpson currently leads serves more than 200 children per week in the Wilmington, North Carolina community.





November 20, 2023

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