Dr. Robert Johnson

April 16, 1899
June 28, 1971
Place of Birth:
Norfolk, Virginia
United States
United States
Induction Category:
Year of Induction:

Tennis historians have lauded the noble efforts of Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe in breaking down racial barriers. Without the guidance of Dr. Johnson, however, Gibson, Ashe, and countless others might not have succeeded so mightily. Dr. Johnson trained, coached, and mentored African Americans from his home in Lynchburg, Virginia for more than two decades. He established a Junior Development program for the American Tennis Association, worked tirelessly behind the scenes to provide opportunities for all competitors, and emerged as a towering figure in the game’s evolution.

Career Achievements

  • Won 7 ATA National Mixed Doubles titles with partner and protégé Althea Gibson
  • Named Football All-American in 1924
  • Awarded Certificate of Merit by Baltimore Tennis Club
  • Atlanta Georgia 100% Wrong Club Award
  • Received the Lincoln University Alumni Award
  • Inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1972
  • Elected into the Mid-Atlantic Tennis Hall of Fame in 1988
  • Recipient of the Marlboro Tennis Award
  • Received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by Lincoln University in 1971
  • Named an NAACP Life Membership Chairman
  • Received the Spiro T. Agnew Honorary Citizenship Award


  • Formed the ATA Junior Development Program
  • Served as Vice President of the ATA
  • Served as Tournament Director of the Central Inter-Collegiate Athletic Championships Association