Champion Althea Gibson broke the color barrier in tennis

Althea Gibson was the first black person to play at the US Open. Now — nearly 70 years later — the 11-time Grand Slam champion has her own statue in Flushing Meadows. 🎾

Gibson had a jam-packed eight-year career

Tennis champion Althea Gibson broke the color barrier in the sport. She was born in 1927 and grew up in Harlem. Years later, she graduated with good grades, pledged AKA sorority, held leadership positions in student organizations and even served as chairperson of the student disciplinary committee. Allen and Baldwin tried to give Gibson an honorarium for speaking, but she presented the check to the physical education department.

In 1950, amid widespread segregation, she made history becoming the first black person to compete in the U.S. National Championships — now known as the U.S. Open. In 1951, she became the first black tennis player to compete at Wimbledon. 5 years later, she won her first Grand Slam title at the French Open. In 1957, she became the first black winner to compete at Wimbledon. She was voted Female Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press in 1957 and 1958. Taking the title, the following year, no other black player would win Wimbledon until Arthur Ash took the men’s singles in 1975.

In 1958, she retired from tennis, as it was not a paying sport for women. She discussed this in an interview with William Miles. She appeared in a stunning 19 major finals in all, she won 11 Grand Slams. She died in 2003 at 76, leaving a major legacy. On August 28, 2019, she was just honored with a sculpture at the U.S. Open. Gibson changed the face and color of women’s tennis. Legendary tennis great Billie Jean King called her "the Jackie Robinson of tennis." You can see her legacy every time the Williams sisters are on television, and the many women tennis players of color. There is a statue of Gibson In Newark, New Jersey, and a sculpture of her in Flushing, New York.


09/04/2019 5:58 PM
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  • Brut
    09/04/2019 19:49

    "Althea Gibson's talent, strength and unrelenting desire to achieve made her a great champion," said Patrick Galbraith, USTA president and chairman of the board, in a statement. "She made tennis a better place, by opening doors and opening minds, doing so with grace and dignity. She is receiving a recognition she richly deserves."

  • Ricardo R.
    09/04/2019 20:42


  • Marcelino V.
    09/04/2019 20:49


  • Richard E.
    09/05/2019 00:21


  • Gary W.
    09/05/2019 01:58

    A truly great one!

  • Eric S.
    09/07/2019 01:00

    Real American hero

  • Elsa W.
    09/08/2019 13:28

    Su historia no fue nada feliz

  • Vick J.
    09/08/2019 17:47

    thot its was Jay Z

  • علي ا.
    09/10/2019 07:09

    سيدة وليست سيد

  • Ricky R.
    09/10/2019 20:27

    Wow nice

  • Sudhakar A.
    09/11/2019 03:31


  • Vipin R.
    09/11/2019 09:23


  • Amber B.
    09/11/2019 10:56

    So sad she's not alive to see the way they're honouring her now. Wish it was done when she was alive

  • Anthony P.
    09/11/2019 14:17

    Didn’t know she won that many Slams met her once in her last days

  • Shaukat J.
    09/11/2019 17:56

    Great personality

  • Md J.
    09/12/2019 01:19

    Like it

  • Alvaro F.
    09/12/2019 02:03


  • Vènkat R.
    09/12/2019 02:34


  • Biplab S.
    09/12/2019 19:25


  • Lorrie P.
    09/13/2019 00:32

    The Great Althea Gibson 🎾♥️🎾♥️🎾♥️🎾♥️🎾 RIP 🌹 🌹🌹 🌹🌹 🌹🌹 🌹🌹 🌹 Queen