Wednesday, a crowd in Newark New Jersey gathered to celebrate the unveiling of tennis legend, Althea Gibson. Althea Gibson’s singles victory at the French Open in 1956 marked the first time an African-American had won a Grand Slam title. And the next year, after her historic run at Wimbledon, she did it again at the U.S. Open — 11 years before Arthur Ashe became the first black man to win the Open singles title. For two years, 1957 and 1958, Gibson was the No. 1 player in the world.
“Althea participated in the civil rights movement with her tennis racquet,” said Frances Gray, Gibson’s friend, former caretaker and the co-founder of the Althea Gibson Foundation. “Everything on the tennis court was white — including the ball — certainly the person in front of her.