The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was intended to outlaw discrimination in the US based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It was designed to end unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that served the general “public accommodation” but the legislators left a loophole. That same landmark legislation that banned open discrimination also provided the opportunity for “private clubs” to exist that could indeed ban anyone except white people.
In 1911, The Country Club of Orlando was established on a large tract of land off of the Orange Blossom Trail west of downtown Orlando. For the 105 years since their founding, The Country Club of Orlando has remained silent as to whether minorities are allowed to join. Our calls and email messages remain unanswered. However, their mission statement may give a hint as to the answer.
“Our Mission is to provide superior enjoyment of all amenities while ensuring the club’s history of home, family, traditions and heritage remain the foundation of our success.”
So do the words “tradition and heritage” mean that minorities are forbidden to join?
We still don’t know, we’ll let you decide.
In 1998, Orlando attorney N. James Turner represented a black groundskeeper who was forbidden to golf on the course after his shift while his white co-workers were allowed to do so. The Dougherty Report spoke with Mr. Turner who shared his thoughts on that case.
Want to hear more and why we believe Country Club of Orlando is allowed to do this, be sure to listen to the entire podcast from 5/18/16.