In 1979, the Pontchartrain Park golf course was renamed the Joseph M. Bartholomew, Sr. Municipal Golf Course by the City of New Orleans. While perhaps not the ‘catchiest’ of title changes, the event was a posthumous chapter in the legacy of one of the most celebrated golf course architects of his time. Joseph Bartholomew (1888-1971) began life as an African-American in racially-segregated Louisiana only 23 years after the end of the American Civil War; fought in large part over the legality of African American slavery. But his life, chronicled in the latest New York Times’ Overlooked series, would see him reach the pinnacles of golf course architecture, and design nationally-celebrated landscapes that Bartholomew, because of his race, was himself not allowed to play on. With his inclusion in The New York Times’ Overlooked series, which remembers the many remarkable women and African Americans who did not receive obituaries in The New York Times at the time of their passing, Bartholomew joins other inspirational architecture figures such as Julia Morgan, the first woman to earn an architect’s license in California, and designer of over 700 buildings. Like Morgan, Bartholomew’s career saw an exceptional architectural talent conquer the disruptive societal and political forces of discrimination and prejudice, marking his place in architectural history.
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