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The Langston Golf Course, named after John Mercer Langston, a Virginia congressman and Howard University Law School dean, opened in 1939. Prior to the founding of Langston, African Americans played golf at Lincoln Memorial (now West Potomac Park). The other public courses in the city were for whites only.

The Capital City Golf Club was founded in 1928 as a club for men only and renamed the Royal Golf Club in 1933. The Wake Robin Golf Club, the city's first black female golf club, was organized in 1937. Both clubs joined forces to lobby the federal government to desegregate the city's public golf courses. In 1938 they petitioned Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes for access to public courses funded by their federal taxes. Instead, Ickes permitted construction of a golf course for blacks on an abandoned trash site. Langston thus began as a nine-hole golf course. Both clubs continued to fight for the desegregation of all public golf courses. In 1941 Ickes issued a desegregation order at the city's federal courses. It would take longer for local white golfers to accept it.

Langston Golf Course, which was always open to all, quickly became a popular course. It attracted local residents and celebrities, including singer Billy Eckstine, golfer Lee Elder, and boxer Joe Louis. It is operated by the National Park Service as part of Anacostia Park and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.

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