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RIP, Althea Gibson

Althea Gibson, the pioneering women’s tennis player who won two Wimbledon titles in the 1950s, died today at the age of 76.

Gibson was the first black to compete in the U.S. championships, in 1950, and at Wimbledon, in 1951. However, it wasn’t until several years later that she began to win major tournaments, including the Wimbledon and U.S. championships in 1957 and 1958, the French Open, and three doubles titles at Wimbledon (1956-58).

“Who could have imagined? Who could have thought?” Gibson said in 1988 as she presented her Wimbledon trophies to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.

“Here stands before you a Negro woman, raised in Harlem, who went on to become a tennis player … and finally wind up being a world champion, in fact, the first black woman champion of this world,” she said. “And believe it or not, I still am.”

Rest in peace, Althea Gibson.

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One Comment

  1. William Hughes says:

    What is amazing about Althea Gibson is that she did everything that Arthur Ashe did first, yet it is Arthur that is given credit for the way he carried himself off of the court. Althea Gibson was not only a champion on the court, but she was one in general life. This is another example of a person rising above her circumstances to excel in her field.

    R.I.P. Althea Gibson.