02/18/04 — Honor Farfour, but uphold city policy

View Archive

Honor Farfour, but uphold city policy

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on February 18, 2004 1:56 PM

The man known as "Mr. Tennis" throughout the state will be honored by the Goldsboro City Council, but city policy prohibits the council from naming city tennis courts after him.

In October, the Goldsboro Tennis Association sent a letter to the city requesting that the refurbished tennis courts at Herman Park be named after John Allen Farfour. That request was brought up Monday by Mayor Al King at a council workshop.

City Manager Richard Slozak said that it was against city policy to name anything in parks and recreation after a living person.

Slozak said that at one time the city recreation department was inundated with requests to name places after living people, so stricter guidelines were set.

He said that the city had responded to the October letter and explained its policy.

Farfour played tennis at Goldsboro High School before graduating in 1935. After attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Farfour founded the Eastern Carolina Junior Open in 1947.

In 1954, he played in a doubles exhibition match with Althea Gibson. She was the first black tennis player to win the prestigious Wimbledon Lawn and Tennis Championship.

Farfour was inducted into the North Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame in 1979 and was inducted into the Goldsboro City Schools Sports Hall of Fame in 1989.

City Councilman Bob Waller said that Farfour should be honored in some way, at least with a plaque up at the park recognizing his achievements.

Councilman Charles Williams thought that H.V. Brown was still alive when the park was named after him, but no one could remember for sure.

Slozak said that if he was, then it was before the policy was in place.

The council members agreed that the city should recognize Farfour for his accomplishments.

"Let's recognize him, but leave the policy in effect," said Councilman William Goodman.

The council plans to discuss later how to honor him.