Facts about Althea Gibson

Althea Gibson died at 76 years old
Born: August 25, 1927
Best known as: The first black woman to win the U.S. Open


Althea Gibson Biography

The daughter of sharecroppers, Althea Gibson became a tennis sensation in the 1950s as the first African-American to win the world’s biggest tennis championships.

Her 1956 triumph at the French Tennis Championships (later known as the French Open) made her the first black woman ever to win a major singles title. The next year she won singles titles at both Wimbledon and the U.S. Championships, and repeated the feat in 1958.

Althea Gibson retired as an amateur after the 1958 season, having become an acclaimed public figure. She later toured as a celebrity with the Harlem Globetrotters and then, like Babe Zaharias, chose golf as a second career, playing on the LPGA tour from 1964-71.

Althea Gibson was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 1971.

Extra credit

Althea Gibson is often compared to her fellow tennis pioneer Arthur Ashe and to two 21st-century African-American tennis stars, Venus and Serena Williams.


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