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In 1924, Local Lions Club Members formed the Austin Municipal Golf and Amusement Association to open the first public golf course in the city. The association leased part of the Brackenridge Tract from the University of Texas, and by fall of that year had converted the heavily wooded land into a nine-hole facility. It later added a brick clubhouse and expanded the course to 18 holes, retaining the name “Lions Municipal” or “Muny” after the transfer of the lease to the city in 1936.
The site is near the historically African American community of Clarksville; yet, while young men from that neighborhood helped build Muny and often worked as caddies, a system of segregation at public recreational facilities kept African American citizens from playing the course. In 1950, Mayor Taylor Glass anticipated building a separate, segregated course. However, some city council members thought it was not a cost-effective measure, and on April 5, 1951, councilwoman Emma Long suggested African American golfers be allowed to use existing public courses.
Two black youths forced the city’s ultimate decision by walking onto Muny and playing golf. Authorities decided to let them complete their groundbreaking round, ushering in an era of de facto integration at Muny. The quiet desegregation at Muny preceded access at other public courses, as well as federal public accommodation legislation, by several years, drawing African American golfers to Austin from around the State. Prominent scholars and historians consider the events at Muny in late 1950 and early 1951 to be the first racial integration of a public golf course in the Southern United States.