Day 25 of Black History Month
Althea Gibson (25 August 1927 – 28 September 2003)
Before Venus and Serena Williams, there was Althea Gibson. She became the first African American to win a Grand Slam title (French Championships) in 1956. Not long after, she would win Wimbledon and the U.S Nationals the following year and repeat her wins in 1958. Her career would total 11 Grand Slam wins, which included six singles titles.
After her retirement, she went on to become the New Jersey state commissioner of athletics before taking a position on the governor’s council on physical fitness.
Gibson’s athletic accomplishments were considered revolutionary, making a huge social and psychological impact on the Black community. 43 years would pass until another Black female tennis player, Serena Williams, would win her first U.S. Open.