William Powell was the first African American to design and construct a professional golf course. In 1946, he began construction of the Clearview Golf Course in East Canton, Ohio.
Born in 1917, Powell spent much of his youth in Minerva, Ohio, where he became interested in golf. He earned thirty-five cents per round as a golf caddie, before enrolling in Wilberforce University, where he played football. Eventually, Powell enlisted in the United States armed services during World War II.
In 1946, he began construction of the Clearview Golf Course. He built the course because of the prejudice he encountered after leaving the United States Army at the end of World War II. Numerous courses prohibited Powell from playing because he was an African American. While working as a security guard, Powell began to build his own course. By 1948, he had completed nine holes, and in 1978, he expanded the course to eighteen holes. To this day, Clearview remains the only course in the United States designed, constructed, owned, and managed by an African American. Since the course's opening, Powell has welcomed people of all races to play the course. With the assistance of his family, Powell continued to oversee the course into the twenty-first century. In 2001, the United States Department of the Interior added Clearview Golf Course to the National Register of Historic Places.