In retrospect, the Dallas Country Club's reluctance to admit then-Texas Ranger Alex Rodriguez seems less an expression of racial exclusivity than an act of justifiable caution regarding a man who would in short order become one of the most universally loathed figures in professional sports.
That doesn't make it any easier to explain why the city's most exclusive country club, located in Highland Park, has kept its membership so lily white.
The club guards its privacy, so it's impossible to know for sure how many minorities it counts as members. It told Mother Jones in 2011 that it has black members but declined to say how many or when they joined. When Lynne Cheney paid a visit seven years ago, ThinkProgress identified Ray Robinson, a former AT&T exec now living in Atlanta, as the lone black member, admitted some time between June and November 2007.
But before you denounce Dallas Country Club as a racist enclave, hear this: Dallas Morning News columnist James Ragland reports this morning that Kneeland Youngblood, the African American leader of a Dallas-based private equity firm, has been accepted as a member. And it only took him 13 years! (The delay reportedly had to do with discomfort over his involvement with Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition.)
Ragland counts Youngblood as the club's second black member. The club "granted a more limited out-of-state membership a few years ago to another black businessman," he writes, perhaps referring to Robinson.
So, now that Dallas Country Club has established itself as a veritable melting pot, let's everyone stop bitching about its absurd property tax breaks, OK?
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.