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All-White Dallas Country Club Admits First Black Member

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The Dallas Country Club in Highland Park is one of the country's most exclusive playgrounds for the wealthy.

Founded in 1896, it has never had an African-American member, until now.

For more than a hundred years, the club has been defined by its exclusivity, and many have argued its excludability.

Dallas resident and African-American Wilber Williams had no trouble accessing the manicured links of the Dallas Country Club as a boy.

"In 1954, 1955, I started caddying out there," he said.  "Had a good experience to where I started playing golf."

Sixty years after Williams' caddying days, The Dallas Country Club has admitted its first African-American member.

Kneeland Youngblood is a noted physician and more known in the world's financial circles as co-founder of the private equity firm, Pharos Capital.

For years, critics urged the Dallas Country Club to end its "Whites only" reputation by granting club membership to someone like Dr. Youngblood.

On the links of Dallas' Cedar Crest Golf Course in Oak Cliff, golfers talked about the move that took 118 years to make.

"We just want to show we're equal," said Dallas Resident Evelyn Walling.

"I think it's taken so long because a lot of these exclusive people and places don't have to do anything. They are willing to, when they are ready," said pro golfer Ira McGraw Jr.

Dr. Youngblood spoke with CBS 11's Steve Pickett by phone, telling him membership with this club is simply an opportunity to join a great institution, and connect with friends.

Wilber Williams says that's the culture of DCC, where powerful friends make connections.  He says it's past time for someone Black to be part of that.

"Gotta be in the circle…where the deals are made…decisions are made," said Williams.

The Dallas Country Club's President Ray Nixon issued the following statement:

"Dallas Country Club is a vital asset and an extraordinary amenity in an increasingly global city.  We have a long standing history and commitment as both a social and family club.  Kneeland Youngblood is an outstanding individual and friend; We are delighted to have him and his family as part of our club."

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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