ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. — Country club officials said it was just a coincidence that they told a high school golf team to stop practicing on their course the day the school's black student body president joined the squad.
Claude Nixon, a senior who was captain of the Northeastern High School's basketball and cross-country teams, said he joined the formerly all-white golf team to learn to play the game.
"When I started playing golf, I had no idea it would end up like this," he said.
Harold Barnes, president of the Pasquotank County chapter of the NAACP, said Pine Lake Country Club's decision two weeks ago to bar the school from the course it had used for five years was "absolutely, without a doubt" racially motivated.
"We think it has a broad-based impact, not only on him (Nixon), but on all persons of color in our country," Barnes said. "For that reason, we are concerned about it."
Robert Brooks, president of the country club that has no black members, said a too-crowded course was the reason Pine Lake asked the team to leave. He said club members had complained the team was "saturating the course."
He said it was a coincidence that the decision was made the day Nixon joined the team.