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The National Bowling Association, Inc. is a non-profit corporation organized in August 1939, in Detroit, Michigan, for the express purpose of encouraging Blacks to develop their skills in the game of Ten Pins. It was originally known as the “National Negro Bowling Association”; because at the time of its birth, Blacks and other Non-Caucasians were not permitted to belong to ABC or WIBC; due to certain restrictive clauses in their constitutions. Since our membership included a large number of Asians, Hispanics, Native Americans and people of color other than Black; in 1944 our organization was renamed, “The National Bowling Association, Inc.” We actively participated in the fight for “Equality in Bowling”; and in 1950, both ABC and WIBC removed the Non-Caucasian clauses from their constitutions. Since 1951,TNBA members have enjoyed the privilege of competing in all open sanctioned leagues and tournaments.

Our “Ongoing” Mission

TNBA’s constitution purpose has always been to foster and promote the game of Ten Pins amongst both men and women. Membership is open to all bowlers, without regard to race, creed or color. Although approximately 80% of our present membership is Black, TNBA has no racial restrictions whatsoever as to membership or participation. TNBA proudly stands behind its motto as a “Promoter of Sportsmanship, Fellowship and Friendship” – Ideals which are accomplished through organized competition. We also serve as a recruiting agency and point-of-entry for young bowlers; who otherwise would not receive the encouragement, tutelage and guidance needed to learn the game and develop the skills that are essential to full enjoyment and successful competition. Such encouragement and training prepares TNBA bowlers to compete on equal terms in the tournament and competitions of their choice.

TNBA has been and continues to be a major factor in the integration of blacks into the “bowling world” and plays a part in the national movement toward implementation of American democracy, ideals and principles. The acquaintance that comes with contact and the respect that is engendered by superior skill helps break down unfavorable attitudes and racial barriers.

See How Far We’ve Come!!

The National Bowling Association is more than an organization. “WE ARE A FAMILY”. For the Black bowler especially, TNBA membership should be as automatic as USBC membership is to all bowlers; mainly due to the fact that The National Bowling Association is one of the largest Black-founded, Black-operated and Black-directed organizations in the country. The National Bowling Association was instrumental in opening the doors of open competition throughout our country for people of color. Even after full membership status was available in the ABC, TNBA continued its existence because the premise of its birth mandated its perpetuation.

TNBA is proud to “boast” some significant milestones below:


  • 1939 – First Annual Tournament held in Cleveland, Ohio
  • 1941 – Incorporated under state laws of Ohio
  • 1944 – Name changed to National Bowling Association, Inc.
  • 1945 – Joe Blue Award for Outstanding Achievement – deemed by Cleveland Alliance in memory of the deceased “organizer”
  • 1950 – Racial restrictions removed from constitutions of American Bowling Congress and Women’s International Bowling Congress
  • 1978 – J. Elmer Reed, Cleveland, Ohio, first black to he inducted into American Bowling Congress Hall of Fame
  • 1980 – Mr. Aubrey Harrison bowled the first 300 game in TNBA in Los Angeles. Joan I. McDuffie of Chicago, Illinois was elected the first female President of TNBA.
  • 2000 – Cornell M. Jackson of Lanham, Maryland and Alesia A. Bryant of St. Louis, Missouri, first two females elected President and Vice President, respectively, along with Margaret S. Lee of Brooklyn, New York as Executive Secretary-Treasurer became the first all female Executive Cabinet of TNBA.

Over the years TNBA has continued its growth pattern and its growth paralleled the movement of Blacks from the rural areas of our country to the major metropolitan centers of the nation. Diversified programming, geared to the needs of a given area, became the keynote of TNBA’s format; as the organization’s membership ranks swelled and its geographic scope widened. TNBA, in its 72nd year of existence, has over 23,000 members contained in over 100 local chapters throughout the country, plus Bermuda.

The motivation to join the National Bowling Association is simple and direct.

Moving Forward & Upward!!!!

TNBA membership signifies unity and strength through organization and the sense of belonging to a dedicated, purposed and progressive group; and helping to achieve unity, strength and solidarity. TNBA membership is a small price to pay when we consider the heritage aspect of TNBA’s tradition and what our status is today; as a result of foresight and dedication on the part of our founding fathers. Today, TNBA is a successful operation that has weathered the growing pains that plague most organizations; and is in a position to become one of the most viable Black organizations in the world. TNBA pays its way – as does its membership. TNBA only wants what TNBA is entitled to, in terms of today’s social and economic climate. TNBA must become more involved in the mainstream of American society. The accomplishment of this goal requires extensive programming and increased membership. TNBA IS the program…but YOU are the members. As TNBA membership increases, our programming will reflect growth in proportion to that increase.

To those who are “not yet onboard“; we say, STAND UP AND BE COUNTED. Become one who reacts through involvement in the shaping, forming and extension of a program geared to the needs of amateur bowlers across the United States. Remember…. It is not necessary to be a bowler to belong to TNBA.

Why not add your name to our membership rolls to help us grow bigger, stronger and even more effective in promoting an opportunity for and protecting the interests of our bowlers? Get yourself and your children involved in one of our many programs. After; it will be our YOUTH who will continue our legacy!