Reginald Weir attended the City College of New York (CCNY), where he captained the men’s tennis team. After graduating from CCNY in 1931, he was American Tennis Association (ATA) singles champion in 1931, 1932, 1933, 1937, and 1942. Weir was also a graduate of the medical school of New York University. He practiced family medicine from 1935 to 1985.
In 1929, with the support of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP), Reginald Weir and a partner tried to take part in an indoor tournament sponsored by the United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA), which at that time barred black players from taking part in its tournaments. Once the organisers learned that Weir and his partner were black, they were prohibited from taking part.
However, nineteen years later, in March 1948, Reginald Weir successfully gained entrance to the National Indoor Championship tournament, which was held at the Seventh Regiment Armory in New York. In the first round of the men’s singles event he defeated his compatriot Thomas Lewyn, 6-4, 6-2, but was beaten in the second round by the eventual champion, William Talbert, 6-1, 6-1. However, Weir had created history by becoming the first black man to take part in a USLTA tournament.
Weir’s participation in the U.S. National Indoor Championships tournament in 1948 was the result of several years of lobbying by the American Tennis Association, the governing body for tournaments in which black players took part. Weir’s success paved the way for Althea Gibson to be able to take part in the U.S. National Indoor Championships tournament one year later, in 1949, when she advanced to the quarter-finals of the women’s singles event before losing to her compatriot Nancy Chafee.
Dr Reginald Weir died in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, in August 1987 at the age of 75.
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