On today in 1957, Althea Gibson claims the women’s singles tennis title at Wimbledon and becomes the initial African American to win a championship at London’s All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.
Gibson was created on August 25, 1927, in Silver, South Carolina, and raised in the Harlem portion of New York City. She began playing tennis as an adolescent and continued to win the national black women’s championship twice. At a period when tennis was largely segregated, four-time U.S. Nationals winner Alice Marble advocated on Gibson’s behalf and the 5’11” player was invited to create her U.S. Open debut in 1950. In 1956, Gibson’s tennis profession became popular and she won the singles title at the French Open-the initial African American to accomplish so-as properly because the doubles’ title there. In July 1957, Gibson won Wimbledon, defeating Darlene Hard, 6-3, 6-2. (In 1975, Arthur Ashe became the original African-American man to win the men’s singles title at Wimbledon, when he defeated Jimmy Connors.) In September 1957, the U was won by her.S. Open, and the Associated Press named her Female Athlete of the Year in 1957 and 1958. During the 1950s, Gibson won 56 singles and doubles titles, which include 11 major titles.
After winning Wimbledon and the U.S. Open again in 1958, Gibson retired from amateur tennis. In 1960, she toured with the Harlem Globetrotters basketball group, playing exhibition tennis matches before their games just. In 1964, Gibson joined the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour, the initial black lady to take action. The trailblazing athlete played pro golf until 1971, exactly the same year where she was voted in to the National Lawn Tennis Association Hall of Fame.
After serving as New Jersey’s commissioner of athletics from 1975 to 1985, Althea Gibson died at age 76 from respiratory failure on September 28, 2003, at a hospital in East Orange, New Jersey.