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Althea Gibson
Young Tennis Player

The first African-American world tennis champion

Born in South Carolina during the Great Depression to poor sharecroppers, Althea did not seem destined for great achievement and world fame. But through her outstanding athletic gifts and stubborn grit, as well as the support of several mentors, Althea struggled to the very pinnacle of the tennis world.

Althea Gibson was the first African-American woman tennis player to compete in the all-white U.S. Lawn Tennis Association tournaments, the first African-American to win a Grand Slam tournament, the first African-American to win at Wimbledon and Forest Hills. Her triumphs paved the way for champions such as Arthur Ashe, Billy Jean King, and Venus and Serena Williams.