Barriers have existed to deny people the chance to compete athletically based on their race, ethnic background, or sex. Some athletes, through their courage and class, have broken down the barriers that have afflicted our society, and sometimes affected greater social change. Althea Gibson integrated tennis competition at its highest levels, and Arthur Ashe used his success to challenge racism and apartheid, and later to raise AIDS awareness.
Traces the contributions of African Americans to the sport of tennis, discussing the careers of high-profile players and their efforts to break down racial barriers while striving to be the best in the sport.
Drawing on original and published interviews, writings, and articles, the author offers an in-depth look at black participation in tennis, from the first courts in Tuskegee in 1880 through the achievements of Aletha Gibson, Arthur Ashe, and Venus and Serena Williams.
The days of tennis as a country club sport for the aristocracy have long passed, as have the pre-Open era days when black players faced long odds just to be invited to the four Grand Slam events. An entire generation of sports fans has grown up seeing Venus and Serena Williams as the gold standard in American professional tennis. Although the Williams sisters have done more than any other players to make tennis accessible to a diverse population, it's not as if the tennis revolution is over. When you watch tennis next, take a close look at the umpire, the person sitting in the high chair of authority at courtside. Look at the tournament referee and the tournament director, the officials who run the tournament. In those seats of power and influence, blacks are still woefully underrepresented. Different Strokes chronicles the rise of the Williams sisters, as well as other champions of color, closely examining how African Americans are collectively faring in tennis, on the court and off. Despite the success of the Williams sisters and the election of former pro player Katrina Adams as the U.S. Tennis Association's first black president, top black players still receive racist messages via social media and sometimes in public. The reality is that while significant progress has been made in the sport, much work remains before anything resembling equality is achieved. Watch a book trailer.
A childhood biography of a groundbreaking African-American athlete. Arthur Ashe (1943-1993) was the first African American man to win a major tennis tournament. He did not start out with a love of the game--his favorite sport was actually baseball--but growing up in the racist south, Arthur decided he would one day play sports on courts that did not allow black athletes. After proving himself a natural on the tennis court, and struggling with committing to the game, Arthur enjoyed many years of championship tennis, crowned by two achievements: his victory over Jimmy Connors at Wimbledon, and competing in Byrd Park, Virginia, a park he was not allowed to play in when he was a child. Alas, during heart surgery in 1983, it is likely that Ashe was given blood tainted with HIV. He became an active fundraiser and speaker on behalf of AIDS research. In 1997 the U.S. Tennis Center's main stadium in New York City was named Arthur Ashe Stadium in honor of his many contributions to the game. This inspiring biography showcases Ashe's courage in the face of bigotry.
Follows the life of the first black woman to cross the color line in tournament tennis, from her childhood in Harlem to her victories in 1957 and 1958 when she won both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
This informative book gives readers the whole history of blacks in baseball, from its infancy in black colleges to the present, covering the establishment of both major leagues and the Negro Leagues, Jackie Robinson's reintegration of professional sports, and Curt Flood's struggle to establish a free agency.
Tells of the early years of Althea Gibson, the first African American to compete in what is now known as the U.S. Open, and to win the singles championship in what is now the French Open.