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Black history fact #22
Althea Gibson (1927 - 2003) was an American professional tennis player and golfer. She was the first black athlete to compete at the US National Championships in 1950, and the first black player to cross the color line of international tennis and compete at Wimbledon in 1951. At an early age, she developed a love for sports and displayed a great talent in tennis. However, in the 1940s and 1950s, most tennis tournaments were closed to nonwhites. Undeterred, she kept playing until her skills could no longer be denied. In 1956, Gibson became the first person of color to win a Grand Slam title. The following year she won both the singles and doubles titles at Wimbledon and the US Open in 1958. Over her career, Gibson won 11 Grand Slam titles, including 6 doubles titles and was voted Female Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press in 1957 and 1958. She also broke color barriers in professional golf and became the first black woman to compete on the pro tour. After retiring from tennis in 1971, Gibson was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Thank you Althea Gibson for breaking racial barriers and dominating in the sports world!