September 28

September 28, 2003 | Althea Gibson

Tennis great Althea Gibson died on September 28, 2003 in East Orange, New Jersey at age 76. She was born on August 25, 1927 in Clarendon County, South Carolina.

Althea Gibson NYWTS

Althea Gibson

She became the first African American woman to win a singles cup championship in the United States on July 21, 1957 when she won the U.S. Clay Court singles title at River Forest. Althea Gibson became the first African American to win a singles cup championship at Wimbledon earlier that month on July 6, 1957 (beating Darlene Hard, 6-3, 6-2). Gibson’s amazing career included 56 singles and doubles titles, including wins in 11 Grand Slam tournaments. In 1957 and 1958 Gibson was voted Female Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press.

Althea Gibson statue

A statue of Althea Gibson, north of Franklin Street in Branch Brook Park, Newark, New Jersey,

She was the first African American tennis player to compete in the U.S. National Championships in 1950 and at Wimbledon in 1951. Gibson also broke racial barriers as a professional golfer, becoming the first African American woman to become a member of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPG).

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