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Condoleezza Rice named first Black female Masters member

5th September 2012   ·   0 Comments

(Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper) – Condoleezza Rice, the first female African-American Secretary of State, made more history on Aug. 20 as she was named as one of the first two women members of the Masters Golf Club at Augusta National in Augusta, Ga.

According to the Associated Press, Rice, a 57-year-old Stanford University political science professor, and South Carolina financer Darla Moore, once considered the richest woman in the banking industry, were both named simultaneously as the Masters Club’s newest members, breaking the club’s 80-year history of female discrimination.

Rice, recently appointed to the U.S. Golf Association’s nominating committee, is also believed to be only the second African-American club member behind businessman Robert Townsend, who was invited in 1990. Tiger Woods later became the first African-American to win the club’s golf tournament in 1997, and went on to win the tournament three more times since.

“I think the decision by the Augusta National membership is important to golf,” Woods told the {AP}. “The Club continues to demonstrate its commitment to impacting the game in positive ways. I would like to congratulate both new members, especially my friend Condi Rice.”

Masters Club chairman Billy Payne called it a “joyous occasion” and said that both Rice and Moore earned their invitation into the club as avid golf lovers and supporters.

“These accomplished women share our passion for the game of golf and both are well known and respected by our membership,” Payne said in a statement released to the {AP}. “It will be a proud moment when we present Condoleezza and Darla their green jackets when the club opens this fall. This is a significant and positive time in our club’s history and, on behalf of our membership, I wanted to take this opportunity to welcome them and all of our new members into the Augusta National family.”

Rice and Moore’s entry into the club is viewed as a victory for women’s rights after years of protesting against the club by feminists such as Martha Burk, former chair of the National Council of Women’s Organizations.

Burk first began protesting the Masters Club in 2002 when she cited the club’s policy against inviting female members as sexist. Burk told {NBC News} the Masters Club’s change of mind came only because of the pressure created by the relentless women’s movement.

“I thought it was going to take a long time but I knew we could outlast them,” Burk said. “I knew that if we kept bringing pressure and did not let up, which we have not, that it would happen.”

This article originally published in the September 3, 2012 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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