LESSONS IN BLACK HISTORY – Althea Gibson

Althea Gibson – Long before the Williams sisters took the world of tennis by storm, there was Althea Gibson, the South Carolina-born woman who broke the color barrier of competitive tennis. Gibson’s family moved to Harlem in the 1930s, and it was there that she became involved in tennis. She had a successful career in the world of amateur tennis, and at the age of 31 she turned pro. Among the many highlights and historical landmarks of her career are her wins at Wimbledon (1957) and the U.S. Open (1958), making her the first black tennis player to win both tournaments. During those years, Gibson was the Top Ranked U.S. Women’s tennis player. After retiring from tennis in 1959, Gibson penned her autobiography, recorded an album, and even dabbled in acting. She would return to sports in 1964, this time in golf, as the first black woman in the LPGA. In 1971 she was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame. “In sports, you simply aren’t considered a real champion until you have defended your title successfully. Winning it once can be a fluke; winning it twice proves you are the best.” – Althea Gibson

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