Althea Gibson was the first Black tennis player to compete at the U.S. National Championship in 1950, and the first black player to compete at Wimbledon in 1951.
Althea Neal Gibson was born on August 25, 1927 in Silver, South Carolina. She grew up in the Harlem section of New York City. From an early age Gibson loved to play sports. After ne year of tennis at the local recreation center, it quickly became her great talent.
In the 40s and 50s, most tournaments were closed to African-Americans. Gibson kept playing and kept winning and until her skills could no longer be denied. After years of winning a steady string of American Tennis Association titles on the African-American circuit, she was finally allowed to entry to the major tournaments.
She became the first Black player to win Wimbledon and claim both the French and Us Open titles. In 1971 she was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Gibson made history and created space on the courts for future generations of Black Girl Excellence.
Check out another amazing tennis giant, Serena Williams who stood on the shoulders of Althea Gibson!