The Day by Day History of the
Althea Gibson Won Again!
July 6, 1957
Have you ever been the
first person to do something? Maybe in a sport or at school?
Long before Monica Seles, Steffi Graf, or Chris Evert won the
women's singles title at the Wimbledon tennis tournament in
England, there was Althea Gibson. Gibson not only won the title
on July 6, 1957, she was the first African American (male or
female) to win a tennis championship at Wimbledon. The Wimbledon
title was just the beginning of a long line of Gibson "firsts."
Althea Gibson was thirteen years old when
she took her first tennis lesson, and one year later, she won
her first tournament. Gibson was a great athlete. She was the
first African American to compete for the U.S. Nationals. She
won many U.S. and international titles, but Althea Gibson had
something much tougher than tennis tournaments to face.
Throughout her career, Althea Gibson struggled against
segregation, the practice of separating blacks from whites.
Imagine winning a tournament and then not being allowed into the
same hotel or restaurant as the other players. It might make you
want to quit playing tennis, but Althea Gibson never gave up.
She became the first black woman to be named Athlete of the Year
by the Associated Press--twice. All those Gibson "firsts" helped
pave the way for future champions like Venus and Serena
Williams. When it is time for you to venture out into the world,
what is the first thing that you'd like to do?