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Althea Gibson Biography

Althea Gibson Biography Golfer, Tennis Player, Athlete (1927–2003)

  

Althea Gibson was the first African-American tennis player to compete at the U.S. National Championships in 1950, and the first black player to compete at Wimbledon in 1951. She also broke racial barriers in professional golf.

Synopsis

Althea Gibson was born in South Carolina on August 25, 1927. At an early age, she developed a love of sport. Her great talent was in tennis, but in the 1940s and '50s, most tournaments were closed to African Americans. Gibson kept playing (and winning) until her skills could no longer be denied, and in 1951, she became the first African American to play at Wimbledon. Gibson won the women's singles and doubles at Wimbledon in 1957, and won the U.S. Open in 1958.

Early Life

Althea Neale Gibson was born on August 25, 1927, in Silver, South Carolina. Gibson blazed a new trail in the sport of tennis, winning some of the sport's biggest titles in the 1950s, and broke racial barriers in professional golf as well.

At a young age, Gibson moved with her family to Harlem, a neighborhood in the borough of New York City. Gibson's life at this time had its hardships. Her family struggled to make ends meet, living on public assistance for a time, and Gibson struggled in the classroom, often skipping school all together. However, Gibson loved to play sports—especially table tennis—and she soon made a name for herself as a local table tennis champion. Her skills were eventually noticed by musician Buddy Walker, who invited her to play tennis on local courts. To read more click here.